In what is now known as Canada, First Nations, Inuit, Metis and Urban Indigenous people experience disability rates much higher than that of the general population. They also have higher rates of poverty, face anti-Indigenous racism and disability discrimination, and have to navigate other barriers caused by colonization. Despite these challenges, Indigenous peoples with disabilities are vibrant, contributing members of our communities. Through their insight, contributions, and leadership, they make Canada a better country for us all.
In 2015, the British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS) created an initiative to raise awareness about this reality: Indigenous Disability Awareness Month (IDAM). Now, every November, IDAM is recognized by hundreds of organizations and communities across Canada and internationally, including by many provincial and First Nations governments. IDAM is the only Indigenous-specific disability awareness initiative of its kind in the world. In 2017, the UN International Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recommended that the federal government of Canada officially adopt the annual declaration.
This year, BCANDS and their national affiliate Indigenous Disability Canada (IDC) have invited representatives from Inclusion BC to attend the 9th anniversary of the IDAM initiative at their offices in Ottawa. There, our leadership will have the opportunity to network with other leaders working towards equity at the intersection of disability and Indigeneity. As a provincial advocacy organization, we are grateful for this invitation, and for this ongoing collaborative relationship with BCANDS. They continuously guide our learning in how to be better allies.
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