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Hamilton marks National Indigenous Peoples Day

Today, the City of Hamilton is marking National Indigenous Peoples Day: a day observed across Canada in recognition of the contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Indigenous peoples.

It is also a day that celebrates the traditions and cultures of Indigenous populations, while also encouraging public education on Canada’s past and current impacts of colonialism, oppression, genocide, and systemic racism at the hands of settlers; all of which continue to actively harm Indigenous communities today.

To commemorate the day, the city issued a land acknowledgement and held a live virtual celebration via YouTube this afternoon that can still be viewed here.

“The City of Hamilton is situated upon the traditional territories of the Erie, Neutral, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Mississaugas. This land is covered by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, which was an agreement between the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabek to share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes,” reads the city’s land acknowledgment.

“We further acknowledge that this land is covered by the Between the Lakes Purchase, 1792, between the Crown and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

“Today, the City of Hamilton is home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island (North America) and we recognize that we must do more to learn about the rich history of this land so that we can better understand our roles as residents, neighbours, partners and caretakers.”

However, with these acknowledgments also comes immense public pressure for the city to take actionable steps towards committing to truth and reconciliation; starting with an intense push for Hamilton to finally remove the prominent statue of John A. Macdonald from Gore Park.

John A. Macdonald famously assisted with the establishment of Canada’s atrocious residential school system, and the call for his statue’s removal has never been louder.

In fact, just today, members of the Indigenous community covered the Gore Park statue in black fabric from head to toe, tying it off with red rope.

As of now, the city has announced no plans to remove the statue.

Read more here.

Lead image courtesy of @cityofhamilton

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