Halton Region is working to provide education, programming and training to grow our understanding of the history of the Residential School system to appropriately honour the survivors, victims, and families of the Residential School System and offer remembrance for the Indigenous children who lost their lives.
Truth and Reconciliation Day – September 30
On September 30, we will observe the second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day honours the survivors, victims, families and communities affected by Residential Schools. Truth and Reconciliation Day is an important opportunity for us to continue the important conversation about Residential Schools and create meaningful discussions about their effects and the legacy they have left behind. It is estimated over 150,000 children were forcefully taken from their families; some children were as young as four years old. At least 10,000 children died while attending Residential Schools and the graves of many students are still unknown.
On June 3, 2021, the Federal Government declared September 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The recognition of a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is important because it represents decades of Indigenous resiliency and advocacy prevailing, allowing action to finally take place to reconcile with the wrongdoings of the past. The 94 Calls to Action (external PDF) in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report reaffirm the steadfast commitment required by governments in Canada to repair their relationship with Indigenous Peoples, Communities and Nations.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (external link) (TRC) was established in 2008 as part of The Indian Residential Schools Agreement, the largest class action suit in Canadian history. For seven years the TRC travelled the country, hearing the stories of over 6,500 witnesses to document an historical record of the Canadian Residential School System. In December 2015 the TRC released its final report (external link), including 94 Calls to Action calling upon Canadian governments, businesses and citizens to advance the goals of Truth and Reconciliation.
Orange Shirt Day
September 30 is marked as Orange Shirt Day because it is historically known as the time of year when children were taken from their homes to attend Residential Schools. The date also coincides with the beginning of the school year, where important conversations about anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion can take place with youth and educators across the country.
Orange Shirt Day originated from the story of Phyllis Webstad (video), a Northern Secwepemc Shuswap from Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation. On her first day of Residential School the orange shirt she was wearing, a gift from her grandmother, was taken from her. Wearing orange is a symbol acknowledging how the culture, freedom and self-esteem of Indigenous children were stripped away for generations.
Relationship Agreement with the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation
On June 20, 2022, Halton Region and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (MCFN) signed a Relationship Agreement, formalizing the ongoing work to build a constructive, collaborative and mutually respectful relationship. The Relationship Agreement was signed at Halton Regional Centre by Regional Chair Gary Carr and Ogimaa R. Stacey Laforme from the MCFN. Elders from the MCFN were also in attendance.
Halton Regional Council endorsed the Relationship Agreement at the June 15 meeting. The Relationship Agreement will help Halton Region and MCFN in working to achieve the shared objectives of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) (external link) final report and Calls to Action, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) (external link). It will also be helpful in identifying areas of mutual concern and interest, as well as establishing and supporting shared understanding and ongoing conversations. MCFN has met numerous times with staff from various departments to share their history, culture and heritage. This has proven to be an important form of knowledge exchange that helps to increase cultural knowledge and understanding in the Regions’ journey of relationship building.
Watch the full Relationship Agreement Signing Ceremony on June 20, 2022 at Halton Regional Centre
National Indigenous History Month 2022
Each June, we celebrate National Indigenous History Month to celebrate and honour the history, heritage and diversity of Indigenous Peoples from coast to coast and across Turtle Island (now known as North America). National Indigenous History Month was created in 2009 in the House of Commons to highlight the achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples throughout Canada. This month celebrates Indigenous culture, recognizes the contributions made by Indigenous Peoples, and acknowledges the acts of revitalization and resurgence that are happening within Indigenous Communities. As illustrated in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report, celebrating Indigenous achievement is an important piece in Reconciliation.
To celebrate National Indigenous History Month, residents can explore resources to learn more about Indigenous History by:
You can also join the conversation online by using the hashtag #NIHM2022.
About Halton’s work to build meaningful relationships with Indigenous People and Communities
In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report and Calls to Action, the Region has taken steps to advance Reconciliation and Indigenous Relationship building. This work focuses on enhancing cultural competency and knowledge with Regional staff about the Indigenous narrative, history and heritage as well as education on Indigenous groups and organizations around Halton. It also emphasizes the importance of building and fostering reciprocal relationships with First Nations, Métis and Inuit People and Communities around Halton and Urban Indigenous leaders in the community.
On June 16, 2021, Halton Regional Council endorsed the following items:
Indigenous Land Acknowledgement Statement
Halton’s Indigenous Land Acknowledgement Statement was created in partnership with the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, who are the original Treaty and title holders of the territory in which Halton Region resides. The Land Acknowledgement is as follows:
Boozhoo, She:kon , Tanshi, Greetings!
Halton Region acknowledges the Treaty Lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation as well as the Traditional Territory of the Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat and Anishinabek on which we gather.
In stewardship with Mother Earth and the enduring Indigenous presence connected to these lands we acknowledge the Indigenous Nations of the past, present and future.
In the spirit of ally-ship and mutual respect, we will take the path of Truth and Reconciliation to create change, awareness and equity as we strive to elevate the collective consciousness of society.
Miigwetch, Nia:wen, Marsi, Thank you
Indigenous Communities around Halton
There are no specific First Nation communities located within the boundaries of Halton; however, there are Indigenous Communities around Halton, including:
COVID-19 Indigenous Elder Advisory Group
The COVID-19 Indigenous Elder Advisory Group was established by the Region to inform vaccine planning for Indigenous Peoples living in Halton Region. Members of the COVID-19 Indigenous Elder Advisory Group provide valuable feedback, input and advice on COVID-19 vaccine clinic models and approaches, identify other health and COVID-19 related issues important to Indigenous Peoples living in Halton.
The membership of the COVID-19 Indigenous Elder Advisory Group includes representatives and attendees from the following Indigenous Communities and Organizations:
- Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation;
- Six Nations of the Grand River;
- Credit River Métis Council;
- Grand River Métis Council;
- Tungasuvvingat Inuit;
- Native Men’s Residence, Toronto; and
- other local Indigenous Leaders.
The Region will continue to use this Advisory Group Model moving forward to seek guidance and input from Indigenous People and Communities.