As we reflect on the impact of the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at residential schools in Canada, the Town is creating space from June 26 through July 1 for mourning, understanding, education and action by Ajax residents.

Many history books mark Canada’s starting point as 1497, when John Cabot, an Italian immigrant to England, arrived on the east coast. What is rarely mentioned in history books, is that there were fully functioning, self-governing, autonomous communities that existed on these lands long before Europeans set foot on them. The land we now know as Canada was previously occupied in a way that was “strategically sedentary” for the nations who walked these lands. Land informed the laws of our people, and our interactions with land governed and continue to govern our community interactions. The continued tradition of oral histories through storytelling will ensure that Indigenous peoples’ truths are not erased and historical accuracy is preserved.

We encourage you to learn more about Indigenous history, residential schools, and heritage through the information provided below.

Land Acknowledgment

I would like to begin this event/meeting by acknowledging that the land on which we gather is situated within the traditional and treaty territory of the Mississaugas. More specifically, the Mississauga’s of Scugog Island First Nation, signatories of the Gunshot Treaty of 1788 and the Williams Treaties of 1923. This land is, and will continue to be, home to the Indigenous Peoples. Let us acknowledge the mistakes and traumas of the past through authenticity and support truth and reconciliation. Let us engage and celebrate Indigenous communities by being leaders of action in acknowledging the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations towards truth and reconciliation. Let us keep these principles close, as we continue towards truth and reconciliation and as we move forward with kindness and respect as a community.

Statement from Ajax Council

We stand in solidarity and grief with Indigenous communities across Canada. They are mourning the ongoing discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves of missing Indigenous children at former residential school sites. Their collective understandings about the dark truths of Canada’s past – and present – are being publicly validated. Survivors, families and communities are continually triggered and traumatized.

These horrifying discoveries confirm what Indigenous communities have long asserted about our country’s history of colonialism, and the efforts of the Canadian government to assimilate Indigenous peoples through the implementation of residential schools, resulting in cultural genocide. This is a shameful policy and period that lives on in the hearts and minds of Indigenous peoples and practices of Canadian institutions. Canadians are waking up to the magnitude of these actions, and are no longer able to ignore these truths.

Our nation would not be facing this truth today without the resilience and resolve of the Indigenous community - in spite of systemic racism, endless tragedy and countless setbacks. First Nation communities, such as we have seen with Tk'emlúps te Secwe̓pemc and Cowessess, are done waiting, and are taking the painful steps alone to locate their missing children and bring them home.

However, there is more truth to be uncovered, and significant action required to improve Indigenous communities and the lives of Indigenous people. This long overdue action includes clean drinking water, livable housing, equitable education facilities and quality health services. This will require the collective support of the entire country and all levels of government. (Please read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action Report.)

In a show of support of the Indigenous community during this difficult time, we are creating space from June 26 through July 1 for mourning, understanding, education and action by Ajax residents.

We have ordered all flags at Town facilities lowered, requested that our corporate social media channels go silent, and created a webpage featuring the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, Indigenous learning resources and ways residents can support Indigenous communities.

Further, on behalf of the residents of Ajax, the Town will be donating a total of $5,000 to three organizations, including Water First ($3,000), Indian Residential School Survivor Society ($1,000) and Dnaagdawenmag Binnoojiiyag Child & Family Services ($1,000) to show our collective support as a community.

While we know the work of reconciliation is much more than pausing social media or wearing a ribbon, we wanted to ensure we created space to inform, impact and inspire residents to support Indigenous communities.

The recent events have sparked a profound interest in the physical, emotional and mental well-being of the Indigenous community. It is important we act on this concern. We must not turn inward and continue to ignore our past, but instead, use our voices to bring every lost Indigenous child home and strongly advocate for the 94 Calls to Action to be implemented.

View Statement from Ajax Council

Council Stand in Solidarity

National Day for Truth & Reconciliation

The commemorative Orange Crosswalk at Rotary Park installed on the 2nd annual National day for Truth and Reconciliation (September 30, 2022) is a permanent symbol of the Town commitment to reconciliation by honouring the victims and survivors of the residential school system and acknowledges the intergenerational traumas that the Indigenous communities have endured and continue to experience because of this devastating history.

The commemorative ‘Every Child Matters’ crosswalk was created through consultations with the Mississauga of Scugog Island First Nation and Durham Region. The Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation and the local Bawaajigewin Aboriginal Community Circle have been in support of the Orange Crosswalk initiatives taking place across the region as a step toward honouring treaty territories, raising awareness and education as well as working toward truth and reconciliation. Through this consultation process, the crosswalk designs were thoughtfully created by Indigenous artist Jon Colwell a proud member of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation. 

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation 

A branch of the greater Ojibwa Nation, the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation can trace their connection to the community back more than 300 years, settling on bountiful lands near Lake Ontario after being uprooted from their former homelands north of Lake Huron. The current First Nation lands on Scugog Island — an estimated 800 acres at the north end of the peninsula, just east of Port Perry. Read more…

For more information on the origins, history and future of MSIFN, visit scugogfirstnation.com

Letter from MSIFN on National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21, 2021

9 Ways Residents Can Support 
  1. Read stories by and about Indigenous people, to learn about their history and culture.
  2. Learn about the residential school system and talk to non-Indigenous family and friends regarding its ongoing impacts.
  3. Follow Indigenous journalists.
  4. Participate in virtual learning and teaching opportunities.
  5. Wear an orange ribbon or shirt to show your support.
    1. Orange ribbons can be picked up at any Ajax Public Library Branch, free of charge.
    2. Purchase an orange shirt from Bawaajigewin Aboriginal Community Circle.
    3. Town permits residents to tie ribbons to trees in public spaces. 
  6. Organize a porch light memorial with neighbours.
  7. Donate to organizations or charities that are actively supporting Indigenous projects/causes.
  8. Reflect with your children by reading together, having conversations, or learning while colouring. Pick-up a colouring sheet from any Ajax Public Library Branch or download one here to print at home.
  9. Advocate for the implementation of the 94 Calls to Action by calling your MP and other elected representatives.
Ajax Community Donation

The Town will be donating a total of $5,000 to three organizations to show our collective support as a community to truth and reconciliation.

  1. Water First ($3,000)
  2. Indian Residential School Survivor Society ($1,000)
  3. Dnaagdawenmag Binnoojiiyag Child & Family Services ($1,000)

Standing in Solidarity

Resources and Organizations
Information on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission 94 Calls to Action
Indigenous Educational Resources
Indigenous Organizations Get Involved and Donate

24/7 Supports

 

  • KUU-US Crisis Line
    1-800-588-8717
  • Indian Residential School Survivors and Family
    1-866-925-4419
 Indigenous Peoples Day
June 21 has been designated National Indigenous Peoples Day by the Government of Canada and celebrates Indigenous Peoples' culture and heritage.  
 Orange Shirt Day
Orange Shirt Day is an opportunity for First Nations, local governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope.