The city of Kitchener is situated on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee Peoples.

We recognize our responsibility to serve as stewards for the land and honour the original caretakers who came before us. Our community is enriched by the enduring knowledge and deep-rooted traditions of the diverse First Nations, Metis and Inuit in Kitchener today.

On this page:

  1. National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
  2. Background
  3. Indigenous outreach and engagement at Huron Natural Area
  4. O:se Kenhionhata:tie Land Back Camp
  5. Indigenous communities use of space
  6. Local Indigenous organizations

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

The City of Kitchener will observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day on September 30, 2021. The City is working with municipal partners and local Indigenous communities to move towards reconciliation and commit to continued learning. We are:

  • Supporting Indigenous groups and organizations to deliver Indigenous-led events to recognize this day, including free access to public spaces and through financial support.
  • Raising consciousness within our organization by preparing and distributing curated learning resources that staff, Council and others can dive into, encouraging self-reflection and personal commitment to reconciliation.
  • Using our organizational voice and platforms to communicate broadly with our community at large about the importance and significance of this day.

Reconciliation is a deliberate and intentional process that will require significant work and time. Council is committed to deepening the City’s understanding of the history and current realities of Indigenous peoples and addressing longstanding, systemic anti-Indigenous racism in our community and our organization.

Read more: Indigenous Initiatives: Observance of National Day for Truth & Reconciliation.


Background

In June 2015, Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its findings and 94 Calls to Action to redress the residential schools legacy and advance the reconciliation process in Canada. The Calls to Action are directed at all levels of government, the private sector and to Canadians as a whole.

In 2019, Kitchener City Council directed staff to implement the Truth & Reconciliation Calls to Action starting with two priorities:

  1. Introduce a territorial acknowledgement at the commencement of Council to signal a commitment to responding to the Truth & Reconciliation Calls to Action and to demonstrate respect for the ongoing relationships we are building, and
  2. Develop and implement a training program for staff and council that will increase Indigenous competency at an organizational level, resulting in improved customer service and increased capacity of non-Indigenous staff across the organization to work respectfully and appropriately on Indigenous initiatives in a municipal context.

In August 2020, Kitchener council approved a report that outlines next steps in the reconciliation journey, including:

  1. development of a Reconciliation Action Plan
  2. investigate and develop a policy to support the access and use of public spaces by Indigenous peoples to carry out cultural and ceremonial practices
  3. until a policy is developed, all fees associated with rentals for space associated with Indigenous events are being waived

Indigenous outreach and engagement at Huron Natural Area

This Indigenous-led, city supported project will take place within the Huron Natural Area and focus on gathering input about access and use of parks and feedback from local First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

Through this work, we are trying to better understand how parkland can become part of the everyday experience of and be reflective of the urban Indigenous population. We will explore areas of cultural ceremony and celebration, stewardship and land restoration and education and learning through events, activities, art, and various festivals.

More project updates and details will be shared shortly. If you would like more information, send us an email.

Visit our Indigenous Engagement in Parks and Open Spaces page to learn more.


O:se Kenhionhata:tie Land Back Camp

Members of the local Indigenous community gathered on lands within Victoria Park in June 2020. In October 2020, members of the O:se Kenhionhata:tie Land Back Camp relocated to Waterloo Park and retired the camp in December 2020. Both Victoria and Waterloo Park hold an important place in local Indigenous history and traditions.

Known as the O:se Kenhionhata:tie Land Back Camp, this group of Indigenous people is gathering peacefully in solidarity and celebration, and to advance reconciliation actions.

For more information please visit the O:se Kenhionhata:tie Land Back Camp Facebook page.


Indigenous communities use of space

We're working with the City of Waterloo to make it easier for Indigenous communities to access public spaces to celebrate their culture and ceremony.

We're waiving rental-related fees for using city spaces for eligible Indigenous cultural and ceremonial events.

Learn more on our Indigenous communities use of space page.


Local Indigenous organizations

There are many local Indigenous organizations you can support. We encourage you to visit their websites, follow them, support them, and listen to their calls for help and donations. Many Indigenous community members and members of these organizations are working through a time of mourning. Some will be accepting donations, others will not, but it’s important to get familiar with local Indigenous groups, communities and organizations. 

We also encourage you to donate to the organizations listed below. Many of these are national-level organizations, many are youth-led or survivor-led. All are focused on protecting Indigenous peoples, Indigenous cultures and Indigenous histories.