MCFN and Oakville come together for allyship celebration

The City of Oakville and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation are forging a strong relationship together, rooted in allyship and truth.

Peter Schuler, an MCFN elder, has been working as an advisor for the Oakville Community Foundation since 2020 and through that, the relationship between Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and the City of Oakville is blossoming.

The two communities shared cultures at the MCFN community centre on Saturday night, with drumming, dancing and a feast catered by renowned chef Tawnya Brant.

“(Peter) suggested we should have a community feast and bring the two communities together and celebrate our different cultures,” said Wendy Rinella, CEO of the Oakville Community Foundation. “That’s the genesis.”

One of the projects the two communities are working on is called Debwewin, which means “truth” in Anishinaabemowin, and involves bringing the history of MCFN to the city.

“If you go to Oakville, there’s not much Indigenous history in Oakville, so what we’ve been trying to do is bring back that Indigenous history,” she said.

Rinella lamented the fact there was no Indigenous friendship centre in Oakville but there is some treaty signage around the community.

There are two MCFN treaties that cover the land in the City of Oakville – Treaty 14 and Treaty 22. Both are pre-Confederation treaties.

“They’re on treaty land,” said Rinella. “When people go to Oakville, they don’t realize it.”

These are friendship and allyship treaties, she said.

“What we wanted to do was make people understand that history and that past. Allyship, to me, is based in friendship and reciprocity. The idea is what we do in Oakville, we also do at Mississaugas of the Credit, as our treaty ally.”

Last May, the two communities held a treaty celebration in Oakville, featuring Inuit singer Susan Aglukark, and this year, the celebration was brought to MCFN.

“This is the beginning of what we hope will be an annual event between the two communities. We have a lot more work in gaining the trust, trust-building to do, and showing that we’ve come with good intentions and that we’re committed to it.”

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