RECONCILIATION

Our role as a Museum is to ensure that the history and stories of the Indigenous community are included in our collection and shared with the community. We need to continue educating and holding ourselves accountable for our commitments to Reconciliation.
Released in 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Report outlined 94 Calls to Action including the need for every Canadian to educate themselves about Indigenous history and legacy of Residential Schools. 
To do this we pledge the following:
1. Connect and listen to the Indigenous Community.
2. Re-evaluate the historical narrative of Aurora.
3. Re-examine current museum practices that were originally created in a colonial framework.
4. Affirm our commitment to the 94 Calls to Action beginning with #79 quoted below.
 
#79: We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Survivors, Aboriginal organizations, and the arts community, to develop a reconciliation framework for Canadian heritage and commemoration. This would include, but not be limited to:
i. Amending the Historic Sites and Monuments Act to include First Nations, Inuit, and Métis representation on the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and its Secretariat.
ii. Revising the policies, criteria, and practices of the National Program of Historical Commemoration to integrate Indigenous history, heritage values, and memory practices into Canada’s national heritage and history.
iii. Developing and implementing a national heritage plan and strategy for commemorating residential school sites, the history and legacy of residential schools, and the contributions of Aboriginal peoples to Canada’s history.
 
We urge all Canadians to take the time to celebrate and learn more about the diverse cultural heritage of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We are honoured to share this message of learning and greeting from Traditional Grandmother Kim Wheatley on this National Indigenous Peoples Day.
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Treaties

Treaties are legally binding documents that outline the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 established the recognition of Aboriginal rights and title in Canada including self-determination setting the stage for treaty negotiations. It forbade the settlement of British colonists on native lands and is enshrined in the Canadian Constitution (1982). Canada however, has not always upheld it’s end of the bargain forcing First Nations to seek remediation through the Canadian legal system. For most of the 20th century, the Canadian policy of assimilation and colonial practices to solve the “Indian Problem” stood in the way of swift resolution. Land claim negotiations continue to this day in areas that were never covered by a treaty.
The present-day Town of Aurora is situated on Anishinaabe territory and is governed by Treaty #13 and The Williams Treaties.
After the American Revolution there was a growing demand for land, which was granted as a reward for loyalty to the British Crown. The first land grants in Aurora date to 1797 and were issued to William McClellan and Thomas Phillips on the West side of Yonge, and to Charles Fathers, and Frederick Smith on the East side of Yonge. By 1806, most of the land on either side of Yonge Street in Aurora had been claimed.
 
Treaty #13 (Toronto Purchase) 
In 1787, representatives of the Crown met with the Mississaugas of the Credit where land was purportedly ceded to the Crown in an agreement known as the Toronto Purchase. When attempting to survey the land the following year, it became clear that the exact delineation of land boundaries had not been agreed upon. Despite this, in 1793 work began on the extension of Yonge Street from Toronto to Holland Landing. Yonge Street divided present-day Aurora in half, with the western side part of King and the eastern side part of Whitchurch.While dubious at best, the supposed deed covering the sale of the land was not resolved until 1805 when Treaty #13 was signed in exchange for the payment of 10 shillings and fishing rights. This agreement however, only covered the west side of Yonge Street and the front parts of lots on the east side of Yonge.
In 1998, the Mississaugas of the Credit filed a claim against the Canadian Government regarding the 1805 treaty (Treaty #13) that was settled in their favour.
 
The Williams Treaties
In Aurora, lands to the east of Yonge Street had never been formally surrendered. While the Johnson-Butler Purchase of 1788 covered lands north of Lake Ontario as far as a gunshot could be heard, this was hardly the case for Aurora. This of course was a problem as settlers had already been living on land that they had no clear, legal title to. This was to change in 1923 when representatives of the Crown and the Chippewas of Christian Island, Georgina Island, and Rama signed what is known as the Williams Treaties for a one-time cash payment and what the Chippewas believed were their rights to fish and hunt on the land.
Legal disputes over the matter however, were not formally resolved until 2018. On November 17, 2018, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, apologized on behalf of the Government of Canada for the negative impacts of the 1923 Williams Treaties on the Williams Treaties First Nations.
Learn more about Treaties | Ontario.ca

Resources

This is not an exhaustive list of resources, but we hope it can help start you on a path to educate yourself about the history and present reality of the Indigenous peoples of Canada.
Indian Residential School Survivors and Family Crisis Line  1-866-925-4419
The Indian Residential Schools crisis line is available 24-hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress because of their Residential School experience. This line is also available to family of former students.
Indian Residential School Survivor Society
How to Support Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc
An Introduction to Residential Schools in Ontario: Histories and Interpretation (2017) – Ontario Museum Association
Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation
Official webpage of the MCFN. Find resources pertinent to the community and educational resources.
“The Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation is a thriving and vibrant community, bursting with people reaching for their roots as well as the future as they prepare to teach the next 7 generations it’s history and culture. This community has survived many hundred years of change; we fought through near extinction, battled in many wars, suffered a complete loss of culture, undertook a new way of life, faced the trails and tribulations that have come with facing our Canadian government and those now occupying our traditional territory, however despite every inch of transformation the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation have endured, they continued to adapt and grow into the resilient First Nation community that stands today.”
Williams Treaties First Nations
Official webpage of the Williams Treaties First Nations. Find resources pertinent to the community and educational resources.
“The Williams Treaties First Nations are comprised of the Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation, Curve Lake First Nation, Hiawatha First Nation, Scugog Island First Nation and the Chippewas of Beausoleil First Nation, Georgina Island First Nation and the Rama First Nation.
The traditional territories of the Williams Treaties First Nations are located primarily in the Georgian Bay and Lake Ontario watersheds and includes certain principal tributaries and streams.”
Chippewas of Georgina Island
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action
Full report of the 94 Calls to Action.
National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
“The NCTR is a place of learning and dialogue where the truths of the residential school experience will be honoured and kept safe for future generations… The NCTR was created as part of the mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC).”
Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada
Article by first director of NCTR, Ry Moran, about Truth and Reconciliation.
Indian Residential School Survivor Society
“Mission
We at Indian Residential School Survivor Society (IRSSS) strive to provide physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual growth, development, and healing through culturally-based values and guiding principles for Survivors, Families, and Communities.
Mandate
To assist First Nation Peoples in British Columbia to recognize and be holistically empowered from the primary and generational effect of the Residential Schools by supporting research, education, awareness, partnerships, and advocating for justice and healing. The Society assists Survivors with counselling, court support, information, referrals, workshops, and more.”
Indigenous Canada: University of Alberta
“Indigenous Canada is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the Faculty of Native Studies that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada.”
The Indigenous History of Ontario (2017) – Ontario Museum Association
Part of the Indigenous Collections Symposium (ICS) Webinar Series, Feb-March 2021. Ontario Museum Association in partnership with Six Nations Polytechnic, Ohsweken and Woodland Cultural Centre, Brantford.
Miziwe Biik – Aboriginal Employment and Training
“Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training was created in 1991 to meet the unique training and employment needs of aboriginal peoples. Miziwe Biik provides the Greater Toronto Area’s Aboriginal community with training initiatives and employment services.
Formerly known as The Greater Toronto Aboriginal Management Board (G.T.A.M.B), the name Miziwe Biik was given to us by Elder Jim Windigo. Our name is associated with the female water spirit and means water which flows all around us.
“Miziwe Biik is like a body of water where a ripple effect had been created;  it is the ability to reach out and make positive change in the lives of the Aboriginal peoples across the Greater Toronto Area.””
 
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