If you are a settler, it’s important to know how to participate in commemorative days for Indigenous Peoples respectfully. The following commemorative dates have been recognized by the Government of Canada as national days to “recognize the rich history, heritage, resilience and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples across Canada.”
If you are curious on how to educate oneself to collectively work towards reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples during these national days and beyond, you may use the following links and resources as a start.
1. Learn about the traditional territories for the land you're situated on.
The lakes, rivers, and land we love to explore in Ontario’s Southwest were cared for by Indigenous Peoples who were here long before any settlers. Ontario’s Southwest is on the traditional territories of the Anishnaabeg/Anishinaabeg/Anishnabek/Anishinabek, Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), Huron-Wendt/Huron-Wendat, Attawandaron (Neutral), Lenape, Ojibway/Chippewa, and Wendat Indigenous Peoples. This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties. Please take the time to read about the Upper Canada Treaties and understand how they continue to impact Indigenous Peoples living in Ontario’s Southwest.
We recognize and deeply appreciate the First Nations' historical connection to, and stewardship of this place. We also recognize the contributions of Métis, Inuit, and other Indigenous peoples have made, both in shaping and strengthening this community in particular, and our province and country as a whole. We're grateful for the opportunity to live and work here and we thank all the generations of people who have taken care of this land.
You can click here to see what traditional lands you reside on.
2. Educate yourself further.
- Read the 94 calls to action and learn why they are so important. Click here to read them.
- Commit to reading a book; the London Public Library has put together a great list of recommendations; click here for the list.
- Take part in Indigenous tourism. Visit IndigenousExperienceOntario.ca or read about Indigenous Tourism in Ontario’s Southwest and support Indigenous-owned businesses, artists, and creators.
3. Donate to a verified Indigenous organization.
4. Attend an event in your area.
During National Indigenous History Month, you may be invited to a Pow Wow event. Please click here to read about Pow Wow etiquette prior to attending.
On National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, many First Nation Communities may have a sacred fire and if they allow settlers to participate, you should attend to show your support.
Please reach out to your local First Nation Community to see how you can get involved and support any events that they are hosting far in advance of the events taking place. We acknowledge and respect the following First Nations that share territory within Southwestern Ontario:
- Kettle and Stony Point First Nation,
- Delaware Nation (Moravian of the Thames First Nation),
- Bkejwanong First Nation,
- Oneida Nation of the Thames,
- Chippewas of the Thames First Nation,
- Munsee-Delaware Nation,
- Aamjiwnaang First Nation,
- Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, and
- Caldwell First Nation.
5. Wear Orange as a symbol of support.
On National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (September 30th), please take time to honour the lost children and survivors of Residential Schools, their families, and communities. You can show that support by wearing an orange shirt. Click here for the official Orange Shirt Day merchandise.
6. Share the following information.
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation compiled a list of crisis/help lines for Indigenous Peoples. The emotional labour of walking the path of reconciliation is often traumatic for Indigenous Peoples. You are not alone in this. If you need help, please call the following numbers:
- National Residential School Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419
- First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness 24/7 Help Line: 1-855-242-3310
- Ontario Help Line: 1-888-301-6426