September 30 marks our country’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. A day to remember, to learn, and to work for change.
As the descendant of people who settled and prospered on the lands of many First Nations I, like so many others, was raised without knowing the history of the land and the people who have cared for it since the beginning. My own path toward learning that history and the truth of my people’s relationship with that land and the people we displaced remains long. But I commit to making that journey. And I know that I will not be alone.
In that spirit, I want to respectfully acknowledge that the Board of the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority meets on the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg people and is charged by the Crown with the conservation of the watersheds of the Mississippi and Carp rivers, both of which flow through that land, as well as the traditional territories of the Huron-Wendat and Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg.
We offer our gratitude to the first peoples for their care for and teachings about our earth and our relations. As we move together along the path of reconciliation, may we relearn and once again honour those teachings and bring them into the work that we do here.
As we meet today, and I reflect on the meaning behind our new National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, I observe that voices are missing from our table.
That lands of cultural significance are not included among the lands we are charged to protect and conserve by the Crown.
That vital and traditional species have and continue to be put at risk by the work that we do.
And that waterways named to recognize the first people who lived on them at the time of settlement still do not bear their true names.
We have much work to do.
Thank you and Miigwech.
Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority