BRANTFORD – You couldn’t have picked a nicer day to celebrate Aboriginal Day in Brantford at Harmony Square, Saturday. Hundreds of Onkwehonwe and non-Native Canadian settlers gathered, as some speakers pointed out, at Harmony Square in downtown Brantford.
The event was a fulfillment of the hope of those trusted with naming the open space a few years ago.
Following a list of speakers wishing those in attendance a happy Aboriginal Day, people enjoyed live music and dancing all afternoon.
Liberal MPP and speaker of the house at Queens Park, David Levac opened by identifying himself as a proud Metis, “not for any other reason than to acknowledge my own history.”
He found it highly appropriate that the event be held at Harmony Square.
“It’s not lost on me that this event is being done at Harmony Square,” he said.
“That translates into a place where everyone can come together in peace and harmony.”
He addressed the younger people at the square saying that it is their generation the torch of friendship is being given to.
“I hope they will see that, as adults, we are coming together to be peaceful people and that they get to see us working together in a way that does not reflect on some of the history that has taken place,” he acknowledged.
Conservative MP Phil McColeman offered congratulations to Chief Ava Hill and the Elected Council for working together with Canada to “make the relationships as strong as we can make them in our generation.”
Chief Hill was straight forward as she spoke passionately about the issues facing her people and the hope of a better relationship with Ottawa.
In offering thanks and recognition to Brant Native Housing but lamented that there is not enough housing on the Six Nations reserve for its members.
“Many of our people don’t live on our community because, for one thing, we don’t have a land base that would require because some people won’t come to the table to settle our land rights,” she boldly stated in the presence of both Federal and Provincial government representatives.
She went on to personally and publicly thank Brantford Mayor Chris Friel for putting forward a motion at Brantford City Council to help repair the roof at the old Mush
“The truth has been made known,” she said. “Now it is time for reconciliation.”
She also called upon all Canadians to keep the pressure on all levels of the Canadian government to fully implement the recommendations made public by the Truth and Reconciliation Committee, and in particular, to support a movement towards a national inquiry into the murdered and missing indigenous women across Canada.