National Indigenous Peoples Day 2021

June 21, 2021

We respectfully acknowledge that we are on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe Peoples, in the Williams Treaties and Treaty 13 areas. We wish to recognize the long history of First Nations and Métis Peoples in Ontario, and show respect. The Williams Treaties First Nations include the Chippewas of Beausoleil First Nation, Georgina Island First Nation, Rama First Nation, Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation, Curve Lake First Nation, Hiawatha First Nation, and the Scugog First Nation. These thriving and growing nations continue to care for these lands as they have for thousands of years, and we are guests who are profoundly grateful to create in this space.

It’s been less than a month since the discovery of the news of the 215 children’s bodies found at the former residential school site in Kamloops by the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation. It is a story of dehumanization, where these and many more children died alone under frightening circumstances. We believe Indigenous voices that there are children’s graves at most, if not all residential school locations. We have watched the responses on social media. We have spoken with our Indigenous colleagues and friends. We are listening and learning. We join in the message of action to bring forth truth, care and compassion to allow communities to heal. Together, ours is a journey to find a pathway to support creative expression from all communities, with strength, vibrancy, and action.

In a learning session with Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux on June 9th, our organization expanded our knowledge about the true history of our region and country’s context through an Indigenous lens. We listen to learn and change perspective, we are curious, and we seek to act with intent.

In order to do this, we need purposeful action. Here is what we commit to:

  • Create inclusive programming that listens to Indigenous voices, and responds in partnership;
  • Support Indigenous artists, drummers, singers, dancers, language learners and small business owners;
  • Continue to support the telling of Indigenous Survivor stories;
  • Create space for Indigenous communities to mourn;
  • Re-read the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and think about how we can implement the Calls to Action in our programming;
  • Connect with Indigenous communities, both locally the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation, and across Turtle Island as artists share their stories with us; and
  • Listen, learn, and respond; apologize and make amends if we misstep

Resources for further information

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action

Williams Treaties First Nations

Legacy of Hope Foundation