QUEEN’S PARK – Sol Mamakwa, NDP Official Opposition critic for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, released the following statement explaining his decision to remain seated during the Canadian anthem and God Save The Queen in the Ontario legislature.
“I was elected as an MPP for the riding of Kiiwetinoong and I serve all who live there. However, as a First Nations person who honours our ancestors and our people, I will not stand for either the anthem or God Save The Queen.
Until our people are treated equitably, until our children have access to education, clean water and safe housing, until we have fair access to the job market, until we have the same right to health care that all other Canadians have, I will not stand.
I will stand only when Ontario and Canada honour the Treaties they signed.
I will stand only when our children receive the same basic human rights as everyone else in this province.
My ancestors and yours came together to create a society of fairness, one of bounty and hope that would benefit all who live on Turtle Island.
My ancestors did not give away our land - Canada took it.
We did not ask to be put in residential school - Canada put us there.
We did not ask to be treated like second class citizens on land we have been living on for thousands of years.
To the Ontario and Canadian governments, if you want to build a just and better society and country, you must honour Treaty rights; they are the laws of the land.
When we stand together, only then will I stand.”