Indigenous History


Municipal Office

395 Mulock Drive P.O. Box 328 Station Main, Newmarket, Ontario
L3Y 4X7

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Newmarket honours Truth and Reconciliation Day on September 30

The Town of Newmarket, in collaboration with our Indigenous partners are inviting the community to come together to remember and reflect, as we recognize the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30.

"September 30 will be a tremendously meaningful and significant day in Newmarket and throughout our country," says Newmarket Mayor John Taylor. "On this day, and everyday, we need to remember and reflect on our past - the very painful and tragic history of the residential school system and the unimaginable impact this has had on Indigenous communities. We need to continue to come together to do more, do better and to create a path forward with Truth and Reconciliation leading the way."

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National Truth and Reconciliaton Day - September 30, 2021

What: The Town of Newmarket is hosting an event for the community to come together in reflection as we honour the First National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day that honour the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Health and safety protocols will be in place.

The theme of the event is Remembering the Past, Honouring the Survivors, Walking the Future Together. The event will include storytelling and song delivered by our partners in the Indigenous community. Following the event, attendees are encouraged to walk along the Nokiidaa Trail (Nokiidaa is an Ojibwa term meaning 'walking together'), to the bridge by the Municipal Offices (395 Mulock Drive) to view a commemorative Indigenous art installation on the bridge. Everyone is encouraged to walk in reflection with a commitment to reconciliation.


  • Members of various Indigenous Communities who will share their experiences through storytelling and song
  • Town of Newmarket Council and staff
  • Community members

When: Thursday, September 30, 2021 at 4:30 p.m.

Where: Fairy Lake Park (Ampitheatre), 520 Water Street (L3Y 1M5) Parking is available on site at Fairy Lake or you can choose to park anywhere along the Nokiida Trail, or at the Town Office at 395 Mulock Drive. 

September 30 is also Orange Shirt Day, an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day that honours the children who survived Residential Schools and remembers those who did not. This day relates to the experience of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation, on her first day of school, where she arrived dressed in a new orange shirt, which was taken from her. It is now a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations. Please remember to wear orange on September 30 to raise awareness of the very tragic legacy of residential schools, to honour the thousands of children whose lives were lost, and those who survived but continue to experience the trauma to this day.

The Town of Newmarket remains strongly committed to our journey of Truth and Reconciliation. Last year, Newmarket installed a permanent land acknowledgement plaque at the Municipal Offices to demonstrate appreciation to all Indigenous people for sharing the Newmarket lands with the community. The land acknowledgement plaque serves as a permanent reminder that Newmarket sits on the traditional territories of the Wendat, Haudeno-saunee and the Anishinaabe peoples and treaty land of the Williams Treaties First Nations and other Indigenous people.

Leading up to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Town hosted an internal orange hat fundraiser that raised over $2000. All proceeds will be donated to Dnaagdawenmag Binnoojiiyag, Child and Family Services, an organization that was selected in collaboration with the Chippewas of Georgina Island, our closest Indigenous neighbours and friends. Those interested in supporting this organization can visit

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The Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action (numbers 62-63) speak to the significance of education as the key to reconciliation.

Learn more here:

Learn more about Bill-C15 here: 

Learn more about the treaties, treaty relationships and treaty rights that shape Ontario. Includes lesson plans and guides:

Read a copy of the Chippewa-Williams-Treaty, signed at Georgina Island on October 31, 1923 Click here to check it out Page 2 outlines a surrender of their rights to harvesting (fishing, hunting and trapping rights).

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June is National Indigenous History Month 2021

Land Acknowledgement

The Town of Newmarket acknowledges that we are situated on the traditional territories of the Wendat, the Haudenosaunee, and the Anishinaabe peoples, whose presence here continues to this day. We honour and acknowledge this land and its people. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action (numbers 62-63) speak to the significance of education as the key to reconciliation.

#IndigenousCanada | #Reconciliation | #NewmarketOTH | #indigenousudance

The Town of Newmarket unveils Land Acknowledgement Plaque in Recognition of all Indigenous People 

On June 19, 2020, the Town of Newmarket officially unveiled a permanent Land Acknowledgement plaque to show their appreciation to all indigenous people for sharing the Newmarket lands with the community. This event, while practicing physical distancing measures, was done in partnership with the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation.

Link here to read more: Newmarket marks Indigenous Peoples Day with unveiling of land acknowledgement plaque - Newmarket News (

June is National Indigenous History Month

National Indigenous History Month is a time for us to honour the history, heritage and diversity of Indigenous peoples in Canada. It's also a chance for us to learn about Indigenous communities today.  

National Indigenous Peoples Day is June 21, 2021 celebrate at home and learn more about the cultural diversity of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Learn all about National Indigenous Peoples Day.

We're celebrating with a FREE virtual discovery!

Where can I learn more about Indigenous people in Canada?

You may have learned about Indigenous people in Canada in school. If you haven't yet, Indigenous people in Canada include First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI). With so much to learn — from traditions to art — where do you start? Here's a list of some amazing resources, including books, games and activities for families and children.

Click here to Visit CBC Kids: Where can I learn more about Indigenous people in Canada? | Explore | Awesome Activities & Fun Facts | CBC Kids

Ways to Celebrate:


The Royal Proclamation of 1763:         

The Royal Proclamation is an important piece of British legislation that explicitly states that Indigenous title has existed and continues to exist, and that all land would be considered Aboriginal land until ceded by treaty. 

  • It is referenced in section 25 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which became law in 1982.
  • The Proclamation is still valid today, as no legislation specifically overrides or repeals it. Learn more here: Royal Proclamation, 1763
  • Section 35 of the 1982 Constitution Act was written to reaffirm the rights of Indigenous peoples. Learn more here: Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982

View a full copy of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms  here: Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Canada's first Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald said in 1887, after the residential schools began to operate, "The great aim of our legislation has been to do away with the tribal system and assimilate the Indian people in all respects with the other inhabitants of the Dominion as speedily as they are fit to change."

How well do you know the Indian Act? Learn more here: Indian Act | The Canadian Encyclopedia

TRIGGER WARNING: Difficult Subject Matter

24 Hour National Survivors Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419.

The residential school system operated in Canada between the Government of Canada and the Church.  More than 150,000 children were sent away to these schools. View the timeline of the Kamloops Residential School and a series of events and dates that are significant to the development, experience and legacy of residential schools in Canada. Timeline here IRSHDC (


Brief History of Residential Schools

1879 Nicholas Flood Davin's report, Industrial Schools for Indians and Half-Breeds, advised the Federal Government to create residential schools for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children.

 "If anything is to be done with the Indian, we must catch him very young. The children must be kept constantly within the circle of civilized conditions." 

Read a full copy of the original "Confidential" report here. Report on industrial schools for Indians and ha... - title page - Canadiana Online

1883 Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald authorized the creation of the residential school system.

Learn more here: 

Residential schools operated throughout Canada with the exception of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. Click below for the map of Residential Schools in Canada. 2039_T&R_map_nov2011_final.pdf (


1907 Dr. Peter Henderson Bryce, Chief Medical Officer for Canada's Department of the Interior and Indian Affairs (1904–21), revealed that Indigenous children were dying at alarming rates. Learn more here:


Duncan Campbell Scott, Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs in Canada. "I want to get rid of the Indian problem. I do not think as a matter of fact, that the country ought to continuously protect a class of people who are able to stand alone... Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic and there is no Indian question, and no Indian Department."

1920 Amendments to the Indian Act made it mandatory for every Indian child between the ages of seven and sixteen years, to attend residential schools. View a timeline of Residential Schools here. Residential Schools | The Canadian Encyclopedia


1922The Story of a National Crime was published by Peter Henderson Bryce. View a copy of the original report here. AppJusIndCan1922.pdf (


1933 The Indian Act legally appointed RCMP officers as "truant officers" to enforce attendance and return truant children to residential schools. View historical timeline here. Historical events in RCMP-Indigenous relations | Royal Canadian Mounted Police (

1974 The Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) was founded with the collective goal to enhance, promote and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations, Métis and Inuit women. NWAC is an aggregate of thirteen Native women's organizations from across Canada, and was incorporated as a non-profit organization.

The Native Women's Association of Canada Residential School Fact Sheet includes an additional timeline of residential schools and has identified 38 intergenerational impacts on Aboriginal people who attended the residential school system.   Residential-Schools-Fact-Sheet.pdf (

Mid-1980 - Early 1990 Survivors across Canada started to gather to form class action lawsuits to seek compensation for the abuses they experienced at residential schools. The Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement | Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre (


1996 Gordon's Residential School in Saskatchewan was the last federally run residential school to close.  Learn more here: Gordon's Indian Residential School | Punnichy – Shattering the Silence (


2006The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement was issued. DRAFT – January 3, 2006 (


2008 The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established as one of the mandated aspects of The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

Learn more here:


2008  The Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, made a Statement of Apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools, on behalf of the Government of Canada. Read the statement of apology here. Statement of apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools (


2015  Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, issued the following statement after receiving the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation CommissionStatement by Prime Minister on release of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission | Prime Minister of Canada (

Progress on Realizing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action2020_TRC-Report-Card_ENG.pdf

May 2021 The remains of 215 children were found buried at a former B.C. residential school. Learn more here.


June 2021 Read the public statement from the Coalition for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples, regarding Canada being one-step away from passing legislation to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples9+June+2021+Coalition+update+on+C15+.pdf (


June 2021 Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde welcomed the passing of a federal bill to advance the implementation of the United Nations' Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  FEDERAL LEGISLATION TO IMPLEMENT UN DECLARATION MAJOR STEP TOWARD ADDRESSING RACISM AND DISCRIMINATION IN CANADA | Assembly of First Nations (


June 2021  A Joint Statement was issued by Ministers Lametti and Bennett on the Senate Passing Bill C-15, An Act Respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous PeoplesJoint Statement by Minister Lametti and Minister Bennett on the Senate Passing Bill C-15, An Act Respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples -



Stories of Residential School Survivors

Art and Activities

Explore Canadian Indigenous Arts

McMichael Art Gallery

From its beginnings, the McMichael has had a long and proud history of collecting Indigenous art, now with more than 1,500 works ranging from eighteenth-century ceremonial regalia, through to items made for trade with settlers, to works by the vanguard of artists

November 2, 2020, Chief Curator Sarah Milroy in conversation with artists Christi Belcourt and Bonnie Devine as they discuss projects at the McMichael and contemporary Indigenous art practice and activism today.

Explore the McMichael Indigenous online collection

National Gallery of Canada

Annie Pootoogook – Cape Dorset Freezer

Associate Curator of Indigenous Art Christine Lalonde talks about Annie Pootoogook's Cape Dorset Freezer. 

Canadian Museum of History Online Exhibits

Check out the work of Margaret Grenier

Margaret Grenier is a professional dance artist, Executive and Artistic Director of the Dancers of Damelahamid. Margaret has directed and produced the Coastal Dance Festival since 2008 and holds a Masters of Arts in Arts Education from Simon Fraser University and a B.Sc. from McGill University.

The Dancers of Damelahamid is an Indigenous dance company from the Northwest Coast of British Columbia with a rich history of masked dance that inspires a compelling performance. Through dramatic dance, captivating narrative, intricately carved masks, and elaborate regalia, the Dancers of Damelahamid transform time and space and bridge the customary with a living practice.

Learn about Indigenous History and Cultures | Local History & Culture | Elman W. Campbell Museum: 

The Elman W. Campbell Museum, located in Newmarket, sits on the traditional territories of the Wendat, Haudeno-saunee and the Anishinaabe peoples and treaty land of the Williams Treaties First Nations and other Indigenous people, whose presence here continues to this day. We honour and acknowledge this land and its people. We thank them for sharing this land with us.

Grade4LearningActivities.pdf ( Includes fun activities and colouring pages to try

A mural representing the First Meeting at Holland River Click here to check it out

Do you want to learn more about Traditional Indigenous culture through traditional storytelling? 
Listen to traditional stories and creation stories told by six Indigenous storytellers from communities across Canada. Each story is available in the respective Indigenous language and in English and French.

Virtual Tour:

Royal Saskatchewan Museum - Tipis were the original homes of the Indigenous people of Saskatchewan


Dance :
A beautiful dance video called Summer Solstice. Produced by Kaha:wi Dance Theatre. Commissioned by Soulpepper. This piece brings together Indigenous artists from across the country. 


Learning Activities:

Are you a teacher looking for Indigenous focused resources for your music program? The National Arts centre has a great resource.

Free Eventbrite Events:

Recipes to try:

Do You Want to Discover More about Traditional Indigenous Cooking?

There's no better way to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Month than cooking up some amazing First Nations/Indigenous cuisine of Canada at home.

These recipes — including a few from me at Kekuli Cafe Coffee & Bannock in British Columbia — all have amazing ingredients that First Nations, Inuit and Métis people use in their traditional fresh food cooking styles. Recognize and celebrate the Indigenous people (and cuisine) of Canada by enjoying some of these yummy recipes from all over the country. Click here to try 12 Canadian First Nations Recipes

Fun Activities:

Are you a parent looking for more creative Indigenous dance and movement resources for children? This engaging and popular resource is available as part of a cross-curricular program. Join Artist Angela Gladue for a study of powwow and hip-hop dance.

Friendship Centres

The Native Virtual Indigenous programs including cooking, children's activities, music and prayer for people of all ages.

(Indigenous-led) Virtual Indigenous programs including music, prayer, storytime, and fitness for all ages.

(Indigenous-led) Virtual Indigenous food and land-based programming involving planting, traditional medicines, storytelling and more for young children and their families.