Newsletter Signup

Indigenous Community and History in Burlington

Indigenous Page Burlington.png

Burlington as we know it today is rich in history and modern traditions of many First Nations and the Métis. From the Anishinaabeg to the Haudenosaunee, and the Métis – our lands spanning from Lake Ontario to the Niagara Escarpment are steeped in Indigenous history. ​

​The territory is mutually covered by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Iroquois Confederacy, the Ojibway and other allied Nations to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes.

The land on which we live, play and work is part of the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit.

Truth and Reconciliation 94 Calls to ActionLearn more about the history of Indigenous people in Burlington and Canada through these resources:

Steps the City of Burlington is taking to honour and support Indigenous residents in our community:

  • To advance the first principle of Reconciliation as Relationship, Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward announces, in Nov. 2022, the formation of a Burlington Indigenous Talking Circle of urban Indigenous residents to begin meeting in 2023. The goal of the Circle is to foster relationship building and dialogue between the Mayor’s Office, City Council, staff, and urban Indigenous residents in Burlington, to take action on Reconciliation.
  • Burlington City Council and Halton Regional Council unanimously support naming Sept. 30 National Day for Truth & Reconciliation
  • Flying the ‘Every Child Matters’ flag at City Hall for the month of September and lighting the Burlington Pier orange on Sept. 30
  • City of Burlington will observe National Day for Truth & Reconciliation on Sept. 30 as a holiday, focusing on educational events and opportunities that reflect on the nation’s past and recommit to understanding the truth of our shared history and advancing reconciliation.
  • On Jan. 18, 2022, Burlington City Council approved the renaming of Ryerson Park to Sweetgrass Park.
  • The City of Burlington flies the flag of the Mississaugas of the Credit year-round on one of our flagpoles at City Hall
  • City officials and staff express a land acknowledgement at the beginning of all city council and committee meetings
  • Council has initiated the renaming process for Ryerson Park in keeping with our naming policies, ensuring equity, diversity and inclusion is reflected in the new name, and asking staff to report back to committee with a recommendation for a new name by November 2021.
  • A Council workshop focused on Indigenous education and issues is being planned for 2021/22
  • Indigenous-led staff education workshops were held throughout June of 2021
  • Council signed and support the Halton Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Charter which guides the Halton community in fostering equity, diversity and inclusion in the region.
  • The City has created and supports the Burlington Inclusivity Advisory Committee, who provides a monitoring and measuring role to help ensure that the City applies an inclusion lens to its policies, services and programs.
  • The City will be undertaking an initiative focused on ensuring our employment practices and policies reflect a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion and are partnering with the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion in this work.
  • The Mayor has appointed a staff lead in the Mayor’s office to support Indigenous issues and grow community relationships
  • The Mayor and staff have all enrolled in the University of Alberta’s free online Indigenous Canada certificate course, from the Faculty of Native Studies that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada.
  • Taking action to mourn and honour the lives lost at residential schools upon the discoveries of unmarked children’s graves at residential schools throughout Canada including lowering of the flags at City Hall, placing children’s shoes on the steps of Civic Square, and holding a traditional prayer ceremony.
  • On Jan. 30, 2022, the City of Burlington supported a local Indigenous ceremony in remembrance of the ongoing discovery of graves at former residential schools at the newly-renamed Sweetgrass Park.
  • At its meeting on June 16, 2021 Halton Regional Council unanimously carried a resolution from Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan calling on the Government of Canada to:
    • Proclaim a national day of mourning for all Canadians;
    • Authorize and support an immediate search of the locations of all former residential school for additional unmarked and mass graves and a national initiative to commemorate and protect Residential School burial sites across Canada through a process that must be Indigenous-led and carried out through ceremony;
    • Continue their efforts to implement the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, specifically Actions 71-76 regarding Missing Children and Burial Information.
    • A similar resolution was also unanimously passed by Burlington City Council at a Special Council Meeting on June 7, 2021. 

Indigenous initiatives and events – past, present and future – that are happening in the City of Burlington:

Visibly honouring urban Indigenous residents of Burlington:

In listening to the voices of the Indigenous community, the City of Burlington is looking at ways we can create a more visible presence and honour Indigenous community members. Ideas include creating a gathering place in Spencer Smith Park, a possible statue, and a feather crosswalk. We are here to listen and open to all ideas through the Mayor’s office and also encourage the community to consider submitting ideas via the following approaches as well:

The City of Burlington’s Arts and Culture Fund (BACF) provides annual grants to local artists, multicultural groups and arts and cultural organizations to foster creativity and enrich how Burlington residents experience and engage with arts and culture. The program recognizes and supports diverse identities, perspectives, languages, cultures and artistic practices. You can learn more about eligibility, past projects and criteria on the City website.

The City of Burlington’s Community Support Fund (CSF) provides financial support to residents and community groups who want to enrich and connect the Burlington community through sport, recreation, art and cultural experiences. The fund supports community gatherings/neighbourhood parties/health and fitness classes and similar events for an amount of up to $1,500 per application as well as special projects for an amount of up to $5,000 per application. Learn more on the City website here.

Support Indigenous-led organizations and businesses:

(We welcome additions to this list via the Mayor’s office at so please reach out with any suggestions)

  • Local
  • Ontario/Provincial
  • Canada/National
    • The Downie & Wenjack Fund which aims to build cultural understanding and create a path toward reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
    • Cheekbone Beauty: an Indigenous-owned and founded Canadian cosmetics company based out of St. Catharines, Ontario.
    • The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) is a membership-based organization that helps to promote Indigenous businesses in Canada. It conducts a lot of research and provides, training and governance.
    • The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is a National Indigenous Organization representing the political voice of Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people in Canada, inclusive of First Nations, on and off reserve, status and non-status, disenfranchised, Métis and Inuit. NWAC was founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of Indigenous women within their respective communities and Canada societies.

Receive new post notifications by email

5 thoughts on “Indigenous Community and History in Burlington”

  1. What about naming an important street like Fairview, Joseph Brant. I am part of a Rotary club who has an Indigenous Awareness Group. We have tried to bring that to council’s attention without luck. Wondering if that can happen.

  2. At last. I am so happy to read information on our indigenous roots. Please tell me are there any living chiefs who are in fact chiefs in our area of Burlington and the Niagara Escarpment? Are there authentic indigenous events for Burlington that everyone may attend?

  3. I was happy to read this information on initiatives and support for Indigenous history and culture in Canada, Halton, Burlington, and surrounding areas. I will be sure to check in regularly and when possible, I will participate.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Here are guidelines before you comment, and our expectations before we will post:

  • Be civil. Would you speak this way to a good friend? If not, rewrite.
  • Focus on the issues. Build your argument and make your case in support of your opinion from facts, research or other sources. That way we can all learn. “I disagree with so-and-so because…” is fine; “So-and-so is naïve/stupid  for thinking the way he/she does and here’s why…” is not acceptable.
  • Don’t make personal attacks. Don’t assume motives of those you disagree with, make unfounded allegations, spread rumours, or engage in any other behaviours that would discourage you from participating if someone said this to, or about, you. The Golden Rule applies: Do unto others as you would have done to you. We will edit or not post comments with this type of content.
  • Say it once: When comments from the same individual or individuals become repetitive, going over ground already stated, we reserve the right to close commenting.
  • Use your full, and real, name. If wish to make a comment in public, we expect you will publicly stand behind it with your name. If you don’t want to publicly reveal your name, that’s fine; you are always welcome to share your thoughts with me privately via my email below. I welcome and consider all feedback in making decisions for the community.
  • Have fun, consider and learn. Share your views and read those of others. May we all benefit from a healthy exchange of ideas, and learn a little more about the people in our community, what you think, and what’s important to each of you. You may end up changing your mind about an issue; even if you don’t, we hope everyone will gain a greater understanding of why people have different perspectives.
Picture of Administrator


A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made. As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington. The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful. Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:

Newsletter Sign Up

Phone: 905-335-7777