In recognition of National Indigenous History Month this June, please join Orillia Council at its meeting on June 7, 2021, as they honour Orillia’s Indigenous history and community for their important contributions as stewards of this land.
In 2020, Council voted to incorporate a land acknowledgement statement into its official Council proceedings during National Indigenous History Month, as well as during the inaugural meeting of newly elected Councils each term. The June 7 Council meeting will include remarks by Chief Ted Williams of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation.
“Adding the land acknowledgement into special Council proceedings demonstrates the importance of the statement to City officials. The land acknowledgement is not something we simply want to say; it’s something we want to honour, learn from and recognize with the importance and reverence it deserves. Council wants to ensure the statement is presented in a meaningful way and recited with purpose during special times throughout the term, not something that gets checked off procedurally,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “The timing of the June 7 land acknowledgement and honouring of Indigenous heritage by Council is even more poignant given the recent discovery of the 215 children whose unmarked graves were found in Kamloops B.C. As a country and as a community, we need to continue to tell the whole, and accurate, history – the good, the bad and the ugly.”
June is National Indigenous History Month, honoured federally as a time to reflect on the diversity, culture and strength of Canada’s Indigenous peoples.
Locally, the City proudly recognizes its Indigenous heritage in its Coat of Arms, the official seal of Mayor and Council. The emblem is a visual reminder of the importance the City places on this history, which is prominently displayed in Council Chamber.
This history includes one of the oldest man-made structures in the world, the Mnjikaning Fish Weirs, a sacred gathering place for First Nations peoples for thousands of years. Our friends and neighbours, the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, remain stewards of this unique and exceptional piece of history.
National Indigenous History Month is an opportunity for residents to develop a deeper understanding and educate themselves on the history, heritage and diversity of Indigenous peoples in our community and across our nation through education and acknowledgement.
“Recent events have demonstrated the need for all Canadians to learn the Indigenous history of this land, so that we can work to correct historic wrongs and move forward together as our treaty agreements promised we would. We acknowledge the work by Orillia City Council in taking this step forward in reconciliation,” said Chief Williams.
You can view the virtual June 7 Council meeting on RogersTV or stream online beginning at 4 p.m. The land acknowledgement will take place at the beginning of the meeting and include a 2 minute and 15 second moment of silence for the lives lost in Kamloops B.C. Access the live streaming link atorillia.ca/councilmeetings.
City representatives have been working alongside Senator Gwen Boniface, local Elders, youth leaders, teachers and community members to develop a virtual learning library comprised of local stories and Indigenous teachings. Residents are encouraged to visit the site often as its resources grow with our collective knowledge, through further education and collaboration from the community. You can access the platform “Gojijing Kikendaasogmig: A Place for Knowledge” at https://www.gojijingtruthandreconciliationgathering.earth