National Indigenous People’s Day
Today is National Indigenous People’s Day, a day to honour and celebrate the contributions of Indigenous People to Canada. The City of St. Catharines and Niagara region is the traditional home to many First Nations, Metis and Inuit Peoples. The land is the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples, many of whom continue to live and work here today.
The Niagara territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties and is within the land protected by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum agreement.
This land acknowledgement is important: it reminds us that our great standard of living is directly related to the resources and friendship of Indigenous people in our community – and indeed across the nations.
Our region’s history with First Nations is a vital part of our city’s cultural fabric, heritage and our shared future.
We are also coming up on the one-year anniversary of a new partnership with the Niagara Regional Native Centre, where the City of St. Catharines made a commitment to work together for advice, education, consultation, training, and cultural competency for our staff and partners. We have made some great strides and there is more work that we will be doing together including: the Celebration of Nations, the traditional Pow Wow at Montebello Park and more.
Through this partnership we have identified an opportunity to work together and provide needed resources for another First Nation in Ontario. Led by Acting Fire Chief Jeff McCormick, St. Catharines has donated a fire truck to Lac Seul to help make a difference in their community and keep people safe. The Chief and I are currently in Lac Seul for the dedication ceremony – and this is just one way we can begin to implement the calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation – for municipal leadership.
Also – thank you to Mayor Lawrance of The Municipality of Sioux Lookout for inviting Acting Fire Chief McCormick and myself to your city’s Truth & Reconciliation Committee meeting.
The path to reconciliation will be long – but your community is leading by example.