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Elder Peter Schuler, Dr. Karine Duhamel, Georgia Laforme and Gimaa (Chief) R. Stacey Laforme sit in chairs on a stage during the Debwewin Workshop.

Community partners collaborate on Launch of Grateful Treaty Person and Acts of Allyship campaign during Treaties Recognition Week

Nov 7, 2022

Sheridan hosted The Debwewin Workshop: Launch of Grateful Treaty Person and Acts of Allyship campaign at its Trafalgar Road Campus on November 7 as part of Treaties Recognition Week. The event aligns with Debwewin: The Oakville Truth Project, which is a joint initiative of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (MCFN) and the Oakville Community Foundation, aimed at furthering a shared understanding of Oakville’s Indigenous past and supporting local Truth and Reconciliation.

Logo for the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation Logo for the Oakville Community Foundation MCFN Gimaa (Chief) R. Stacey Laforme’s Ally Leadership Council – made up of local Truth and Reconciliation champions who support Debwewin – is leading the community-based campaign, which encourages individuals and organizations to engage in actions to propel reconciliation forward across the community. The public is invited to share their acts of allyship and engage on social media using #ActsofAllyship to commit, learn, plan, do and share their work related to Truth and Reconciliation.

“Governments won’t fix racism or enable true reconciliation. It has to be the people of Canada who do the work and make it happen. I think that community to community, people to people, is the way to go,” said MCFN Elder Peter Schuler and Debwewin Advisory Council Lead. “When we all work together, we can become the lake of change. We can each become a raindrop of change and we can form that lake.”

“Governments won’t fix racism or enable true reconciliation. It has to be the people of Canada who do the work and make it happen... When we all work together, we can become the lake of change.”

– Peter Schuler, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation Elder and Debwewin Advisory Council Lead

The Acts of Allyship campaign began on November 7 and will conclude on February 28 — the anniversary of local Treaty 22. To embark on their own Acts of Allyship, Oakville residents are encouraged to sign the online Declaration of Truth & Allyship and download the Grateful Treaty Person Toolkit. Sheridan has officially signed the Declaration of Truth & Allyship and, as a signatory, has committed to actioning ongoing Acts of Allyship and meaningful work to advance Truth and Reconciliation.

“We welcome the opportunity to re-imagine our treaty relationship with the local Treaty Holders, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, and bring community-to-community allyship and reciprocity forward into the present,” said Dr. Jane Ngobia, Vice President, Inclusive Communities at Sheridan, and member of Gimaa’s Ally Leadership Council. “We encourage all students, faculty and community members to get involved.”

At the launch event, Dr. Karine Duhamel, Director of Indigenous Strategy for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and former Director of Research for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, addressed treaties from an Indigenous perspective and how they are integrated into the Commitment to Truth and Allyship. She explained: “Treaties at their heart are about relationships. They are often thought of in terms of contracts, when they are in fact fundamental to community, safety, and overall well-being. They are a set of principles for being well together.”

Gimaa Laforme also announced a poetry contest, inviting postsecondary students to share, in their own words, what allyship or friendship feels and looks like to them. All Sheridan College, Oakville, and MCFN postsecondary students can submit poetry, spoken word, a rap or song. He inspired attendees with a reading of his allyship poem, which included the lines: “Allyship is not an end, it is a beginning. An understanding that must welcome all. A voice for the future, for our people, for our children, for our planet.”

Background

The Town of Oakville is located on the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, as well as the Traditional Territory of the Haudenosaunee, and Wendat people. The Town of Oakville is covered by Treaty 14, the Head of the Lake Purchase (1806) and Treaty 22 (1820).

Sheridan College
Founded in 1967, Sheridan has grown from a local college of 400 students to one of Ontario's leading postsecondary institutions, educating approximately 23,000 full-time and 20,000 continuing and part-time studies students every year, on three campuses in Brampton, Mississauga and Oakville. As a trailblazer in unique arts, technology and health care programs, Sheridan has always been on the leading edge of innovation ensuring students learn job-ready, practical skills and develop the confidence, empathy and problem-solving savvy that allows them to push boundaries in an ever-changing world.

Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation
Mississaugas of the Credit are an Ojibwe (Anishinaabek) First Nation with 2,600 Members, approximately 850 of whom live on the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation Reserve near Hagersville, Ontario.

Oakville Community Foundation
The Oakville Community Foundation is a local charitable solutions provider, delivering the tools to realize your charitable passions. The Foundation acts as a philanthropic medium, investing donations to generate new money for our community. We conduct local research to provide our diverse donors with knowledge and solutions to make an impact in the local community, both today and in the future. Thanks to the visionaries in our community who started The Foundation more than 25 years ago, The Foundation has granted more than $57 million to support charities locally and beyond.

Pictured in top photo: The Debwewin Workshop leaders (from left) Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation Elder Peter Schuler; Director of Indigenous Strategy for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Dr. Karine Duhamel; event emcee Georgia Laforme; and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation Gimaa (Chief) R. Stacey Laforme
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