We acknowledge that since time immemorial the land on which we live and work has been the home and traditional territory of Indigenous Peoples, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, Haudenosaunee and Huron-Wendat, and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit, and Métis relatives.
Our work is carried out across the many traditional territories of this land that is also known as Ontario. We are grateful to have the opportunity to live and work in the community on this land. We acknowledge our privilege as well as our role in the systems of colonization.
Our recognition must also be connected to efforts to realize the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Indigenous people in Ontario are 1.7 times more likely to be living with HIV than non-Indigenous people. While there are a number of factors that contribute to incidence of HIV, the key determinant remains colonization and its continuing social and health impacts. Moving towards Reconciliation is an opportunity to work with Indigenous communities to, among other things, ensure that Indigenous people with HIV in Ontario have access to the best available legal services, care, treatment and support.
HALCO works for health and justice. We must do our part to address the ongoing injustices as well as the resulting health inequities that face Indigenous Peoples and that contribute to the impact of the HIV epidemic on Indigenous communities.
We are committed to this effort. In addition to joining in the June celebration of Indigenous History Month and Indigenous Peoples Day (and closing our office on June 21 to mark the latter), the HALCO board will be working on a Reconciliation Action Plan. We recognize that we have plenty to learn and plenty to do. We recognize that it is up to us, partners and allies, to acknowledge and act. We are committed to doing so, working in collaboration with and following the lead of Indigenous colleagues and organizations.