The City of Kitchener is situated upon the traditional territories of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee Peoples.

We extend our respect to all First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples for their past and present contributions to this land. We also recognize and respect the cultural diversity that First Nations, Métis and Inuit bring to the City of Kitchener.

On this page:

  1. Background
  2. Indigenous outreach and engagement at Huron Natural Area
  3. O:se Kenhionhata:tie Land Back Camp
  4. Indigenous communities use of space
  5. Local Indigenous organizations
  6. Upcoming events and activities

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, connect with our Parks Engagement Associate.

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.


Upcoming events and activities

Use the accordions below to learn about upcoming events and activities. Subscribe to this page to get an email when we add something new.

National Indigenous History Month

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada. Throughout the month of June, all municipalities within the Region of Waterloo will be sharing history, information, resources, and stories to learn more about the history of Indigenous peoples, and to celebrate Indigenous culture and resilience. 

Visit our National Indigenous History Month page to learn more and to find events happening on Indigenous Peoples Day.

Orange Shirt Day

Date: Wednesday, September 30

Orange shirt day is an annual day to raise awareness and show support of survivors of the residential school system. This date was chosen because it is the time of year in which children were taken from their homes and forced into residential schools. It is an opportunity for First Nations, local governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and create hope for the generations of children to come. Learn more about Orange Shirt Day and how you can get involved and show your support.