Reconciliation of Indigenous Nations of North America
“The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville acknowledges this land is the treaty territory of the Williams Treaty First Nations. It is also the traditional territory of other Anishinaabeg peoples, the Huron-Wendat, and the Haudenosaunee. We also recognize the contributions of all Indigenous peoples to this place and commit to a continued dialogue and greater respect for the land we have come to share. Recognition of the contributions and historic importance of Indigenous peoples must also be clearly and overtly connected to our collective commitment to make the promise and the challenge of Truth and Reconciliation real in our community.“
The above is the pledge that is spoken before each council meeting of the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville. It hangs at Town Hall as a pledge that the Town will respect and work towards reconciliation with the indigenous peoples of North America.
At this time. It is only a recognition. I believe what has gone on over the last 4 years actually makes me believe that the Town and council have no idea what it means. They seem to have no idea how to take these words and put them to action.
The discovery of one of the largest settlements of Wendat peoples was unearthed in the area around the Wendat Public School on Reeves Way Boulevard. The Town has expressed interest in building an interpretation center in the area of the settlement. The only areas that are left, would put the Interpretation Center in the flood plain to the south east of the Wendat Public School. We do not allow buildings to be built in the flood plain for safety reasons. The area could flood and be dangerous to those who are in it. This would see the removal of a wildlife corridor, countless trees, shrubs, grass and wildflower populations. This area was rescued from the developer so they could not build there.
Part of the plan is also for an 87-car parking lot and a turn around area for busses. This is where I believe the Town and their planning committee have really fallen off of the rails. There is a 10-hectare woodlot on the west side of Reeves Way that will have a large area cut down, so they can build an asphalt parking lot. This will allow people to park and then go to the Interpretation Center to learn about the ways of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. This is ludicrous, a parking lot in the middle of the forest. This is the exact opposite of what the Acknowledgement stands for. It says to “greater respect the lands we have all come to share”. Council needs to reread the acknowledgement and then get someone to interpret for them.
The plan is still being considered and is also looking for funding from the Federal and Provincial Governments. If money is directed to this project, as it is today, then all three levels of Government need to reread the Acknowledgement and have someone interpret for them.
I am all for an Interpretation Center to finally acknowledge the contributions of the Indigenous People of North America and what actually happened to them when colonialism started nearly 400 years ago in North America. North Americans need to apologise for the actions that our ancestors or the European culture did to these people through colonialism of North America.
There are other examples of disrespect for the lands we have come to share that is ongoing with our Council and Town.
I thought I would bring this to your attention to show the disrespect of the lands our communities are built. There is a lack of willingness to preserve our natural environment with, not only Council, but the staff of Whitchurch-Stouffville.
Yes, we need to have an Interpretation Center. We need to do it right. We have a new building on Main Street, 6343 Main Street. We have it now, lets make the best of it. It would be great for our down Town core.
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If elected, this will be on the agenda and solutions for a different kind of better will be implemented.
Vote Mark Carroll 4 Mayor on October 24th.