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HSH commits to Allyship in Oakville Truth Project


Home Suite Hope is taking part in the Oakville Community Foundation’s (OCF) Debwewin: The Oakville Truth Project.


It has committed to a Declaration of Truth and Allyship and by doing so, HSH joins with many Oakville businesses, agencies and individuals.


The Oakville Truth Project, according to the OCF website, is a partnership between the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and the Oakville Community Foundation to further our shared understanding of Oakville’s Indigenous past and support local Truth & Reconciliation.


Debwewin means truth (heart knowledge). The Anishinabe word is represented by the turtle, is believed to have been present during the creation of Earth, carries the teachings of life on his back and lives at a slow pace by understanding the importance of both the journey and destination.

 

Debwewin will raise questions about Oakville’s Truth such as: “What happened to the local Treaty holders, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation?” and “Why did Treaty 22, which includes coverage of Oakville main waterways, Sixteen Mile and Bronte Creek, leave the Mississaugas homeless?”


The Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (MCFN) have deep historical roots in Oakville. Understanding the local history of the Indigenous people in Oakville from an Anishinaabek perspective is an important first step on the path towards Truth and Reconciliation.


The Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (MCFN) is part of the Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) Nation, one of the largest Aboriginal Nations in North America. The MCFN reserve near Hagersville, Ontario, is approximately 6,100 acres. This small land holding in southwestern Ontario is all that remains of their once expansive property of 3.9 million acres.


The MCFN territory spanned from Long Point on Lake Erie eastward along the shore of the lake to the Niagara River. It included lands down the river to Lake Ontario, then northward along the shore of the lake to the River Rouge east of Toronto, then up that river to the dividing ridges to the headwaters of the River Thames, then southward to Long Point, the place of the beginning.


The word “Missisakis” in Anishinaabemowin language translates to mean many river mouths. By the mid-nineteenth century, the Mississaugas believed they had obtained their name from the mouths of the Trent, Moira, Shannon, Napanee, Kingston, and Gananoque rivers. The term New Credit was in reference to the relocation of the Credit River Mississaugas in 1847. The word “new” was dropped from the reference to the community by official council motion in December 2018.


The MCFN logo is an Eagle, which is viewed as the messenger — the Mississaugas were once considered to be great messengers, some days, travelling up to 80 miles on foot. Three fires are symbolic of the Mississaugas’ traditional and political alliance with the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Pottawatomi Nations. A council, the Three Fires Council, was established and still exists today.

The Circle of Life encompasses two aspects. One, First Nations teach that every living thing is related and interconnected — we are all a part of the Circle of Life. Secondly, the blue writing symbolizes the interconnectedness to the traditional territory of the MCFN, the Credit River and Lake Ontario. The Peace Pipe is the Mississaugas’ equivalent of a Parliamentary Mace. The pipe was given to the Mississauga Peter Jones by Queen Victoria’s cousin Augustus d’este. It is used in special opening ceremonies to thank the great spirit, mother earth, and the sun.


The Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation look to their Anishinaabe roots to guide their vision for the future as a strong, caring, connected community who respects the earth’s gifts and protects the environment for future generations. The Mississaugas' identity includes their history, language, culture, beliefs and traditions, which they strive to incorporate into the programs and services.


A commitment to Truth and Allyship was developed by the Debwewin Advisory Council. Organizations and individuals can become a signatory to it.


Home Suite Hope’s declaration includes a commitment to seek opportunities to learn about the Treaty territories, including the traditional territories of First Nations; build relationships with Indigenous peoples upon whose traditional territories we live and work; share our voices and resources to include and benefit Indigenous peoples; and share our learnings and understandings within the context of our work, in policy and practice, to honour and respect these relationships.


Home Suite Hope’s Executive Director Dr. Sara Cumming continues to lead HSH by example, strengthening the organizational commitment to learning and unlearning. She has completed the following courses: “Indigenous Canada” with the University of Alberta, and “Looking Forward, Looking Back: Indigenous Learning Series” with Sheridan College.  Sara has also completed a series of courses with the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion; “Fundamentals of Diversity and Inclusion,” “Introduction to Unconscious Bias and Respect in the Workplace,” “Cultural Competence,” “History of Races, Race and Racism,” “Intersections of Race” and the “Racialized Ally.” The knowledge gained from these courses is translated into improved policies and practices at Home Suite Hope.


HSH signature to the declaration is a call to action that invites others to join in moving forward in an atmosphere of understanding, dignity and respect towards the shared goal of reconciliation.



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