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Statement on Indigenous Peoples Day

Medicine pouch, 2020 Youth Summit © Leah B

June is Indigenous History Month, and while Ontario Nature’s learning about Indigenous history is year-round, this month – and today on Indigenous Peoples Day – we honour and celebrate the ongoing contributions, diversity, and unique cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people to Turtle Island.

The colonial legacies in the conservation movement, the impacts of the inter-generational trauma inflicted by residential schools, and the disproportionate effects of environmental hazards and resource extraction continue to be felt by Indigenous Peoples today.

Ontario Nature recognizes the role that we must play in advancing reconciliation and building relationships with Indigenous Peoples, which is integral to creating an equitable province for current and future generations. We also recognize the inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples – including Free, Prior and Informed Consent – and remain committed to meaningful action in the spirit and practice of reconciliation.

We must work together to transform and decolonize the conservation movement. We are hopeful about the endless possibilities of working with and learning from Indigenous Peoples to create a path based on respect and equity.

Today, we invite you to learn more about the history of the land where you reside and the Indigenous Peoples whose traditional territory you are currently working on. Our staff is taking time this week to learn and reflect on how this knowledge shapes our work and the understanding of our relationship with the natural world.

To learn more about how we approach our Indigenous relations, visit our new webpage: ontarionature.org/indigenous-relations.

Here is a list of selected stories written by Indigenous writers that we recommend: