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Indigenous Community and History in Burlington

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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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • At its meeting on June 16, 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 mayor@burlington.ca 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.

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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.
    Catherine

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Email:  mayor@burlington.ca

Media Specialist: John Bkila
john.bkila@burlington.ca
905-335-7600