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Niagara College acknowledges the land on which we gather is the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples, many of whom continue to live and work here today.
This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties and is within the land protected by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum agreement.
Today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples and acknowledging reminds us that our great standard of living is directly related to the resources and friendship of Indigenous peoples.
Red Dress Day honours the memories of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls across Canada. Métis artist Jaime Black helped inspire the red dress movement, where red dresses are hung from windows and trees to represent the pain and loss felt by loved ones and survivors.
The REDress Project focuses around the issue of missing or murdered Aboriginal women across Canada. It is an installation art project based on an aesthetic response to this critical national issue. The project has been installed in public spaces throughout Canada and the United States as a visual reminder of the staggering number of women who are no longer with us. Through the installation I hope to draw attention to the gendered and racialized nature of violent crimes against Aboriginal women and to evoke a presence through the marking of absence.
Sisters In Spirit recognizes the more than 1,200 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) in Canada.
October 4th is a day marked to honour the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people, to support grieving families, and to create opportunities for healing. The violence experienced by Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people in Canada is a national tragedy.
Vigils are held across the country in memory and to honour the lives lost.
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women - JustFacts
In 2010, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) released a report called What Their Stories Tell Us. The report resulted from five years of research by the Sisters in Spirit Initiative. It revealed as many as 582 known cases of Aboriginal women and girls who have gone missing or been murdered in Canada. NWAC wanted to create a visual representation of these women and girls so they would not be forgotten. The Faceless Doll Project came out of research conducted by the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA).
May 11 - The Moose Hide Campaign began as a BC-born Indigenous-led grassroots movement to engage men and boys in ending violence towards women and children. It has since grown into a nationwide movement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians from local communities, First Nations, governments, schools, colleges/universities, police forces and many other organizations – all committed to taking action to end this violence.
WHY MOOSE HIDE?
Moose hide is a symbol of taking a stand against violence and undoing the effects of Residential Schools.
Co-founders Paul and his daughter Raven were hunting moose to help feed their family for the winter and provide for cultural purposes. This was a grounding tradition on their land that passed knowledge from one generation to the other, something the residential school system tried to erase.
They felt connected to their surroundings within their Carrier territory along the Highway of Tears in Northern BC where so many women have gone missing or been murdered. And they were inspired.
Paul knew his young daughter deserved a life of dignity and respect free from violence.
And so it began… a cultural tradition of generational teachings became a symbol of a responsible, meaningful pledge.
A commitment to take action in honour of women and children everywhere, and a symbol of honouring Indigenous medicine and belonging that is here to stay.
June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. This is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. The Canadian Constitution recognizes these three groups as Aboriginal peoples, also known as Indigenous peoples.
Although these groups share many similarities, they each have their own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.
In cooperation with Indigenous organizations, the Government of Canada chose June 21, the summer solstice, for National Aboriginal Day, now known as National Indigenous Peoples Day. For generations, many Indigenous peoples and communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on or near this day due to the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year.
Orange Shirt Day is an annual event held each September 30th in remembrance of the Canadian Residential School system.
Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) Residential School (1891-1981) Commemoration Project and Reunion events that took place in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in May 2013. This project was the vision of Esketemc (Alkali Lake) Chief Fred Robbins, who is a former student himself. It brought together former students and their families from the Secwepemc, Tsilhqot’in, Southern Dakelh and St’at’imc Nations along with the Cariboo Regional District, the Mayors and municipalities, School Districts and civic organizations in the Cariboo Region.
Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of this project. As spokesperson for the Reunion group leading up to the events, former student Phyllis (Jack) Webstad told her story of her first day at residential school when her shiny new orange shirt, bought by her grandmother, was taken from her as a six-year old girl.
In this feature film, the profound impact of the Canadian government’s residential school system is conveyed through the eyes of two children who were forced to face hardships beyond their years. As young children, Lyna and Glen were taken from their homes and placed in church-run boarding schools, where they suffered years of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, the effects of which persist in their adult lives. We Were Children gives voice to a national tragedy and demonstrates the incredible resilience of the human spirit.
September 30th has officially been declared the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by the federal government. The Government of Canada is committed to reconciliation and ensuring that the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools is never forgotten. This day provides an opportunity for Canadians to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools. Individuals may choose to observe this day in quiet reflection or participate in a community event.
The National Day of Truth and Reconciliation responds to Call to Action 80 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action, which reads:
80. We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.
Bill C-5 seeks to amend three pieces of existing legislation to create the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a federal statutory holiday on September 30 each year, as a direct response to Call to Action 80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Legacy of Hope Foundation - A national Indigenous charitable organization with the mandate to educate and create awareness and understanding about the Residential School System. This includes the intergenerational impacts such as the removal of generations of Indigenous children from their families, including the Sixties Scoop, the post-traumatic stress disorders that many First Nations, Inuit, and Metis continue to experience, all while trying to address racism, foster empathy and understanding and inspire action to improve the situation of Indigenous Peoples today. The LHF supports the ongoing healing process of Residential School Survivors, and their families and seeks their input on projects that honour them.
SPEAKING MY TRUTH: Reflections on Reconciliation & Residential School (ebook) is a collection of stories that looks at the history of Residential School and possibilities for reconciliation from the perspective First Nation, Inuit, and Metis peoples. Published by the Aboriginal Healing Foundation.
On November 8th, we come together to mark National Indigenous Veterans' Day, honouring the important contributions of Indigenous Peoples in service to Canada.
As we reflect, we remember those who lost their lives, and those whose lives were forever changed. We hold their loved ones, families and communities in our hearts.
The First Nations, Inuit and Métis of Canada have a long and proud tradition of military service to our country.
Lest we forget!