We need meaningful, authentic engagement with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities to ensure:
- Access to culturally safe services and programs delivered by the Region
- Consultation on land use planning and capital works projects
- Promotion and celebration of Indigenous cultural identities and heritage
- Support for economic growth of Indigenous-owned businesses and Nations
Safety and well-being
In 2021, Wendy Sturgeon and local Indigenous organizations wrote Mno Bmaadziwin: Living the Good and Healthy Life.
This report informs Niagara's Community Safety and Well-Being Plan. This plan identifies priorities and opportunities to improve safety and well-being in Niagara.
There were three main recommendations from the Mno Bmaadziwin report.
- Establish a joint roundtable with Niagara Indigenous Community Executives, Niagara Region Corporate Leadership Team and senior leaders from Niagara Region Police Service
- Make a formal public statement on our intention to address systemic racism within all our systems as it pertains to Indigenous people
- Hold a joint summit of all the Indigenous agencies' boards of directors and Niagara Region councillors
Indigenous Relations Advisor
Email Brian Kon
Indigenous Perspectives Docuseries
The Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre produced a docuseries highlighting Indigenous history in Niagara.
In 2021, Niagara Region created a mandatory course for all staff which includes the viewing of this locally-developed docuseries.
Draft Niagara Indigenous Action Plan
The joint roundtable, as recommended in Mno Bmaadziwin, was established in 2021. In collaboration with Niagara Region, staff developed a draft Niagara Indigenous Action Plan. The purpose of the action plan is reconciliation between Niagara Region and First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. There are five priority areas:
- Advocacy and allyship
- Relationship building
- Education and awareness
- Recruitment and retention
- Service delivery
Local Indigenous history and resources
- Recognizing treaties
Niagara has been a key meeting place for many Nations over thousands of years. Ongoing land disputes and historical discrepancies have created challenges in recognizing the current treaty rights of First Nations. Although First Nations and the Crown signed treaties, there are still treaty claims before the courts.
Niagara Region acknowledges the significance of Indigenous Treaty Rights as protected under the Canadian Constitution.
There are many First Nations, Métis and Inuit people from across Turtle Island who live and work in Niagara today.
There are three First Nations that are important for consultation on land planning and use in Niagara.
- Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council
- Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation
- Six Nations of the Grand River
The Métis Nation of Ontario are a self-governing body responsible for Métis citizen that live in Ontario. They operate through local offices and the Niagara Regional Métis Council.
Tungasuvvingat Inuit provides programs, services and resources to the local Inuit population.
Scholars continue to research the First Nations that previously and currently live in Niagara in addition to those listed. One of these Nations is the Hatiwendaronk, also known as the Neutral Nation, Attawandaron, Attiwonderonk or Chonnonton. Scholars are continuing to understand the accurate name of this nation.
- Two Row Wampum
In 1613, the Dutch and the Haudenosaunee created an agreement known as the Two Row Wampum. This Wampum is the oldest recorded agreement between Indigenous people and new settlers from Europe. It covers the land we recognize as Niagara today.
Wampums are visual memory keepers that help record history and communicate ideas. Beaded patterns represent a person, nation, event, invitation, shared values and understandings / agreements between two or more parties. The Haudenosaunee used traditional Wampum belts as covenants and petitions for understanding. They used the words spoken during an agreement to make the Wampum. The Wampum was used for ceremony, teaching, and reminders of law and values, according to the Museum of Ontario Archaeology.
The Two Row Wampum has two purple rows surrounded by three white rows. One purple row represents the ship of the Dutch. The other purple row is the Haudenosaunee canoe. Each row is travelling down the river of life side by side. Neither is trying to steer the other's boat. The three white rows represent the three principles of the treaty: peace, respect, and friendship between the two people in an agreement that will last forever.
Local Indigenous organizations
Urban Indigenous community organizations are mandated to serve the needs of urban Indigenous people by providing culturally appropriate services. Today, people living in urban settings make up 85 per cent of the Indigenous population, according to the National Association of Friendship Centres: Urbanization and Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
Learn about the different Indigenous organizations in Niagara and the programs and services they offer. You can also sign up for their newsletters and attend local events.
- De dwa da dehs nye>s Aboriginal Health Centre, based in Hamilton but is increasing its outreach services in Niagara
- Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre
- Ganawageh and Ohsto: Seri Urban Homes
- Indigenous Diabetes Health Circle
- Niagara Chapter Native Women
- Niagara Regional Native Centre
- Niagara Region Métis Council
- NPAAMB Indigenous Youth Employment and Training
- Oonuhseh - Niagara Native Homes
- San'yas Ontario Indigenous Culture Safety Training
- Relationship with Indigenous Communities Guideline 2018 from the Government of Ontario
- Delivering on Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action from the Government of Canada
- Pathways to Health Equity for Aboriginal Peoples from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research
- Indigenous Engagement Resource List from the Association of Public Health Epidemiologists
- Pathways to Improving Well-being for Indigenous Peoples: How living conditions decide health
- Government of Canada, Treaties and agreements
Providing a land acknowledgement is an opportunity for members at an event or meeting to take the time to recognize and show respect for the First Nations on whose land we live and work. It recognizes the relationship the individual has with the history of the land and the people of the land, both past and present.
In consultation with Indigenous leaders, historians, First Nations and community members, Niagara Region updated its land acknowledgement in 2021. This can be read at the start of meetings, webinars, training sessions or other opportunities.
Terms and pronunciation
- Hatiwendaronk: hat-ee-wen-DA-ronk
- Haudenosaunee: hoe-den-no-SHOW-nee
- Anishinaabe: ah-nish-uh-NAH-bay
Niagara Region is situated on treaty land. This land is steeped in the rich history of the First Nations such as the Hatiwendaronk, the Haudenosaunee, and the Anishinaabe, including the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. There are many First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples from across Turtle Island that live and work in Niagara today. The Regional Municipality of Niagara stands with all Indigenous peoples, past and present, in promoting the wise stewardship of the lands on which we live.