As a community backbone organization with non-Indigenous and settler leadership and staff, The Storefront team is taking Canada Day as an opportunity to reflect and take action on Indigenous well-being and sovereignty. The stories we tell about our communities, and the events and people we choose to commemorate matter. Canada Day tells the story of the anniversary of the founding of the state of Canada as something that Canadians today should celebrate. However, we know that the true story is more nuanced: we recognize that the founding of the Canadian state undermined Indigenous sovereignty and that the systemic oppression and discrimination rooted in settler colonialism and white supremacy continues to have profoundly negative impacts on Indigenous people today, here in East Scarborough and across Turtle Island. Led by calls from Idle No More and Indigenous leaders and organizers, let’s take this Canada Day to learn about a history that was not taught to many of us, and focus on Indigenous resistance and resilience.
In the spirit of truth, accountability, reflection and action, on Canada Day, The Storefront team will be encouraged to:
- Watch: these Indigenous-made films are free to watch through the NFB, such as the documentaries nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up by Tasha Hubbard and Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger by Alanis Obamsawin
- Read and engage in action-oriented reflection on: the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) calls to action. The TRC and the 94 calls to action are rooted in the experiences of residential school survivors and their recommendations to ensure that not one more generation of Indigenous children suffers due to discrimination and colonial violence.
- Learning about whose land we live on: visit native-land.ca to learn whose Indigenous territories we live on, which treaties govern Indigenous-settler relationships on the land, and which Indigenous languages are spoken on the land. Learn about Indigenous histories and treatymaking right here in Scarborough too on Heritage Toronto’s Indigenous Roots interactive map resource.
- Learn Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada by enrolling in: this free online course called Indigenous Canada led by Dr. Tracy Bear, University of Alberta that can be worked through at your own pace.
- Amplify the voices of our Indigenous partner organizations who actively support Indigenous well-being here in East Scarborough and are key to the strength of our community ecosystem, such as Native Child and Family Services’ Scarborough Child and Family Life Centre, also called the House of Giizhik: read Native Child and Family Services statement to mark Indigenous People’s Day this year, and check out the programs and initiatives from their various Scarborough spaces on their social media: Scarborough Child and Family Life Centre (House of Giizhik), SCFLC EarlyON, and the new Malvern Aboriginal Child and Family Centre.
For those in our community who are non-Indigenous or settlers to Turtle Island, we encourage you to pick a resource above, engage with it, and take one action on Indigenous well-being and sovereignty this Canada Day.
For those in our community who are Indigenous, we stand with you in mourning, in solidarity and in a commitment to reflection and action. We intend to listen and follow your lead to learn the best ways to work in solidarity with Indigenous community members in Scarborough, for example, by accepting the invitation into Indigenous spaces and events like the House of Giizhik’s upcoming virtual Culture Night on July 21st. We understand that it is not our role to demand labor from Indigenous community (emotional or otherwise) in such spaces but to show up and be present as our authentic selves, ready to reflect, challenge and unpack our relationships with colonization and land on Turtle Island.
If you need support at this time, contact the Indian Residential School Survivors Society 24/7 crisis hotline for residential school survivors and family: 1-866-925-4419. For a wider array of holistic supports for Indigenous community members in Scarborough, check out Native Child and Family Services’ Scarborough Child and Family Life Centre (House of Giizhik) online or by calling 416-969-8510 x 3700. Finally, as always, The Storefront team is open to hearing from Indigenous residents directly on how we can better support Indigenous well-being and sovereignty in East Scarborough. Please contact us via any of our social media channels (@StorefrontKGO) or by phone 416-208-9889 or email at email@example.com. We would also like to encourage Indigenous residents to visit our building at 4040 Lawrence Avenue East which re-opens to the community on July 5, 2021 (hours Monday to Thursday 10 am to 2 pm), to get to know The Storefront and what supports are available to you.