New Treaty Lands signs to go up throughout Oakville


Published May 30, 2022 at 4:30 pm

Debwewin: The Oakville Truth project will use money received from a federal government grant to have new Treaty Lands signs installed throughout the town.

The project was given $85,247 from the My Main Street Community Activator program to enhance the local community through virtual and land-based placemaking initiatives.

Of that, over $20,000 will be used for the creation and placement of 20 signs throughout high trafficked areas of Oakville, including the 12 Mile Creek lookout, Coronation Park beach, Gairloch Gardens, Riverview Park and Bronte Beach, which have already been installed.

Led by the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (MCFN) and the Oakville Community Foundation (The Foundation), the project is a local truth and reconciliation process of healing relationships, sharing truths, listening to the knowledge that is being shared and doing our best to redress past harms.

Debwewin is inspired and guided by an Advisory Council led by MCFN Elder, Peter Schuler.

Oakville lies on two treaties: Treaty 14, the Head of the Lake Purchase signed in 1806, and Treaty 22, which surrounds both 12 Mile Creek and 16 Mile Creek, signed in 1820.

“The Debwewin: Oakville Truth Project has provided tremendous opportunity for residents and visitors of Oakville to learn about the Indigenous history of the land,” said Gimaa (Chief) R. Stacey Laforme of MCFN. “I believe permanent initiatives to increase Treaty awareness should be implemented everywhere, the announcement of these signs going up across Oakville sets an example for all cities and towns.

“On behalf of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, I want to say chi-miigwech to the Oakville Community Foundation, Town of Oakville, and My Main Street for their efforts on this meaningful project.”

Designed by Jensen Group, an Indigenous digital media company, the signs will inform community members that they are on Treaty Lands.

They will also include a map of other Treaty Lands in the surrounding area, an acknowledgement of the land and a QR code that will lead users back to the Debwewin website where they can learn more about the project.

A land survey was conducted in early 2022 to determine for the first time in 200 years the exact locations of the Treaties.

In February, based on the land survey, MCFN and The Foundation launched the Debwewin website that features an interactive virtual map of Treaty 22 and Treaty 14 in Oakville, where users can input an address to discover which Treaty they’re on.

There is also information on the Seven Grandfather Teachings and videos that introduce users to the project and the Debwewin Advisory Council Members.

In April, MCFN Elder Peter Schuler went on a blood memory walk of the Treaty Lands to determine the appropriate placement of the signage.

On May 24th, Gimaa Laforme and Oakville’s Mayor Rob Burton unveiled the signage at the Debwewin: Truth of the Land event.

The Town has committed to complete the signage installation for June, National Indigenous Peoples Month.

“We are Grateful Treaty People,” said Bindu Cudjoe, Chair of the Board of The Foundation. “We are also appreciative of the guidance of Elder Peter Schuler, Gimaa Laforme and the MCFN team, as well as the support from the My Main Street Community Activator program for helping us bring this project to completion.”

Plaques of the Treaty signage are available for purchase by organizations and businesses and include a land acknowledgement approved by MCFN.

To support the project, consider purchasing a Debwewin t-shirt or your own Treaty 14 or Treaty 22 plaque here.

“Debwewin” is one of the seven Anishnabek Grandfather Teachings and refers to “truth.” This project raises questions about Oakville’s Truths and invites the community to become part of a truth and reconciliation journey towards mutually respectful relations between Indigenous and Non-Indigeous people.

To learn more about the project, go to:

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