Oakville resides on the treaty lands of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, part of the Anishinaabe Nation, whose traditional territory encompasses 3.9 million acres of southern Ontario.
In 2017, The Foundation began the journey of what Truth and Reconciliation looks like in Oakville. It started with asking local indigenous community members what it looks like to them. Two very important guides helped in this journey; a local Anishnaabe elder and, the Chair of Halton’s Indigenous Education Advisory Committee. The Foundation also benefitted from consulting with the Chief of the Mississaugas of the New Credit, Chief R. Stacey LaForme. With their guidance we brought together many other community partners, academics, elected officials, businesses and charitable organizations and worked on a number of projects which have begun to roll out:
- Recognition of Oakville as “treaty lands” through banners, smudging ceremonies, and publicly at events.
- Public recognition projects funded through the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th
- Community Discussions on Truth and Reconciliation
- The Mississaugas of the Credit flag raised permanently at Oakville’s Town Hall.
The Oakville Community Foundation has become a signatory to the Call to Action by the Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples to continue the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). We will be dedicating our boardroom in our new offices to the Mississaugas and are working with Chief R. Stacey LaForme on appropriate recognition.
Living the values of truth and reconciliation is not an easy process. Reconciliation can be a challenging topic but it needs to be undertaken with a view to the collective benefit for future generations. The Foundation encourages businesses, not-for-profits and other charitable organizations to begin to think about how they can embrace TRC. As Justice Murray Sinclair, Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission stated so profoundly “Reconciliation is not an aboriginal problem – it involves us all.”