The following report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission outlines 94 Calls to Action in response to the findings of the consultations with Indigenous survivors:
Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation (MSIFN)
Official Land Acknowledgement
Scugog Township is situated on the Treaty and traditional territory of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation. The people of Scugog Township are humbled to recognize the many contributions made by the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples of Canada, and celebrate the historic foundation and many contributions from the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation to the Township.
We are grateful for the opportunity provided by this special place we all share, and we thank all the generations of people who have taken care of this land for millennia.
Nine Calls to Action were identified by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, as containing the word ‘Municipal’ or ‘all levels of government’ in them:
#40 We call on all levels of government, in collaboration with Aboriginal people, to create adequately funded and accessible Aboriginal-specific victim programs and services with appropriate evaluation mechanisms.
#43 We call upon federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments to fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation.
#47 We call upon federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments to repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous peoples and lands, such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius, and to reform those laws, government policies, and litigation strategies that continue to rely on such concepts.
#57 We call upon federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments to provide education to public servants on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal-Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights and anti-racism.
#64 We call upon all levels of government that provide public funds to denominational schools to require such schools to provide an education on comparative religious studies, which must include a segment on Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Aboriginal spiritual beliefs and practices developed in collaboration with Aboriginal Elders.
#75 We call upon the federal government to work with provincial, territorial and municipal governments, churches, Aboriginal communities, former residential school students, and current landowners to develop and implement strategies and procedures for the ongoing identification, documentation, maintenance, commemoration and protection of residential school cemeteries or other sites at which residential school children were buried. This is to include the provision of appropriate memorial ceremonies and commemorative markers to honour the deceased children.
#77 We call upon provincial, territorial, municipal and community archives to work collaboratively with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to identify and collect copies of all records relevant to the history and legacy of the residential school system, and to provide these to the NCTR.
#87 We call upon all levels of government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, sports halls of fame, and other relevant organizations, to provide public education that tells the national story of Aboriginal athletes in history.
#88 We call upon all levels of government to take action to ensure long-term Aboriginal athlete development and growth, and continued support for the North American Indigenous Games, including funding to host the games and for provincial and territorial team preparation and travel.
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation offers a number of learning opportunities for all Canadians. Visit their website for more information.
The Township recognizes September 30th as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Scugog. This day provides an opportunity for our residents to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools. The establishment of a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is in response to the 80th Call to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). As stated in the Calls to Action report, the holiday's purpose is to "honour survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process."
Both the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day take place on September 30.
Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day that honours the children who survived Indian Residential Schools and remembers those who did not. This day relates to the experience of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwepemc (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.
On September 30, we encourage all Canadians to wear orange to raise awareness of the very tragic legacy of residential schools, and to honour the thousands of Survivors.
Content provided by the Government of Canada.
National Indigenous People’s Day is a day that is earmarked to celebrate the first peoples of this country. Speaking broadly, it is a day about making sure that our legacy is observed and serves to celebrate Indigenous contributions to Canada.
The initial contribution of single most importance was the sharing of the land and resources in what we now know as Canada. This observation forms the basis of all land acknowledgements. It is widely accepted that the original settlers would have surely perished their first winter had the Indigenous peoples of this land not helped them survive through harsh climates. On this occasion, it is appropriate for us to reflect and appreciate the culture of the first peoples who opened their hearts, homes, and resources to so many.
National Indigenous Peoples Day is not about reparations. It is about making sure that we celebrate the resilience of Indigenous peoples despite Canada’s history. The thing is, we cannot talk about resilience without understanding the baggage that we carry as a Nation. Many Indigenous people and communities were slaughtered, enslaved, jailed, put into residential schools, or stolen into the child welfare system, all while corralling the rest of our people into reserves through the force of the federal Indian Act which still governs us today. But there is hope. Many Canadians are more readily identifying the racism that exists within Canadian borders and beyond. Canada eventually chose to celebrate our Indigenous Veterans as Canadian heroes too. Canadians are now alive to the injustices committed against the Indigenous community, which is an obvious starting point towards a better path forward. Indigenous communities are weaving together threads of family. Our communities are healing. Our children are proud of their Indigeneity after generations of needing or wanting to hide it. Once designed as concentration camps, our people went ahead and turned reservations into communities. This is the resilience of which we speak.
Today we wear our hearts on our sleeves as a Nation, particularly as we reflect upon the recent discovery of the 215 children lost at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, but also so many others lost in the wake of the Residential Schools Era. This is an important process for all Indigenous and non-Indigenous persons. If we can allow ourselves to acknowledge our painful past and sit together in the discomfort, we may just emerge a little wiser to each other’s point of view. We can let it permeate that everybody is on Indigenous land. Indigenous peoples will keep on being here, regardless of what framework is set up, regardless of who ever is or is perceived as being “in control.” If we allow ourselves to just ‘go there’ – we will emerge kinder to how we address the fallout of the intergenerational trauma that Indigenous peoples & communities continue to work through to this day.
Indigenous resilience could be viewed through the lens of love. Loving our ourselves again. Loving our families. Loving our communities. Loving our culture. Loving the language that we work to reclaim. Much like the immigrant community in Canada, the Indigenous community entails a diverse set of voices and experiences based on diverse cultures. We must love this too, respecting that we were never one homogenous voice. Today we recognize the amazing contributions of all Indigenous peoples and how their rich cultures have been a necessary condition to the creation of Canada. We are Canada’s foundation.
We are in some of the most difficult and challenging times in recent history. Racism, violence against women & girls, a lack of clean drinking water, and climate change are just a sample of the prevalent issues that require a collective Canadian response. The pandemic will create much discussion in the way of recovery, but it remains in all our interests to reconsider our perspectives. If the pandemic has reminded us of anything, it is the first lesson shared when settlers came to this beautiful place: Humans belong to the World; the World does not belong to Humans. On this National Indigenous Peoples Day, we celebrate that the original stewards are still here, are healing, and are now being heard, once again being asked to share our knowledge with the world. Our collective foundation is stronger.
Miigwech for your time and attention in observing National Indigenous Peoples Day. Baamaapii!
Chief & Council of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.
Chief and Council: Elected Council for the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation is comprised of one Chief and two Councillors. The most recent election was held in June 2021. Each council position is for a period or term of two years.
Chief: The Chief is the official spokesperson of the First Nation and is required to attend meetings with local, federal and provincial counterparts. The Chief attends council, committee and community meetings as required to provide direction to members of staff who are associated with his/her portfolio in the development of policies and programs.
Councillor Jeff Forbes and Councillor Laura Colwell
Councillor: It is the Councillor’s responsibility to work with the Chief and the other Councillor to oversee the operations of the First Nation. Councillors are required to attend meetings with local, federal and provincial counterparts and attend council, committee and community meetings as required to discuss community issues.
On October 29, 2012, in Alderville Indian Band et al v. Her Majesty the Queen et al, Canada and Ontario took the position at trial that harvesting rights associated with pre-confederation treaties signed by the Williams Treaties First Nations were not intended to be surrendered in 1923, particularly the Treaty 20 (1818) area which was the subject of judicial scrutiny in Taylor and Williams, 1981.
This position recognizes the Williams Treaties people’s constitutionally protected harvesting rights in Treaty 20. This means Williams Treaties harvesters are able to exercise rights in line with those of other treaty people in most of Ontario.
In June 2018, the Williams Treaties First Nations ratified the Williams Treaties Settlement Agreement with Canada and Ontario. As it relates to harvesting, the Williams Treaties Settlement Agreement recognizes the Williams Treaties First Nations continuing pre-confederation treaty harvesting rights to harvest fish, wildlife, trapping and gathering in Treaties 5, 16, 18, 20, 27 and 27 1/4.
SCUGOG – The Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation (MSIFN), and the Township of Scugog, today, jointly announce the ratification of a new service agreement. The agreement builds on the governments’ strong relationship and support for the revitalization of Lake Scugog.
For the period of 2018-2038, the Township of Scugog will provide road maintenance, fire, and emergency services to MSIFN at a fixed price of $1.5 million, which will be allocated entirely to the Lake Scugog Enhancement Project (LSEP). The MSIFN will receive all service levels for, roads, and fire and emergency services as would the residents and businesses within the Scugog Township.
“We are proud to have come up with a unique type of service agreement that is mutually beneficial and seeks to achieve a long-term goal for our communities,” said Chief Kelly LaRocca. “Lake Scugog is a defining feature of MSIFN, and the Township of Scugog, and our community is proud to support LSEP and protect what matters most.”
“On behalf of the Scugog community we are very happy to see this agreement finalized and grateful for the financial commitment made by the MSIFN Council on behalf of the First Nation community. This agreement provides service delivery ensuring quality roads and fire and emergency services consistent with the services received throughout Scugog. Along with the support for a major project affecting the health of our shared Lake Scugog this is a great example of respect and cooperation between neighbours.” Former Scugog Mayor Bobbie Drew.
MSIFN’s new water infrastructure, which was completed in 2021, offers an enhanced level of protection to the MSIFN community. In addition to their tanker truck shuttles, the Scugog Township’s fire and emergency services will continue to be able to access MSIFNs new privately held water system and hydrants in the event of a nearby fire emergency. “The MSIFN water system is vital infrastructure that provides an additional partnership opportunity strengthening the emergency response for all neighbouring residents,” said Mayor Bobbie Drew. “Our residents are grateful for the committed service of the Scugog Fire Department and emergency response employees, and we thank them for their remarkable service,” said Chief LaRocca.
For centuries, the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation (MSIFN) have lived on the shores of Lake Scugog, North of what is now Port Perry. Thanks in large part to the success of the Great Blue Heron (GBH) casino, MSIFN is widely considered a model of a successful First Nation government in Canada. In part due to the success of GBH, MSIFN has provided their community – and Durham Region as a whole – with thousands of jobs, and millions of dollars in charitable donations to community organizations throughout the region.
For more information, please contact:
Chief Kelly LaRocca - the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation
The Township of Scugog is a Municipal government within the Region of Durham (one of eight municipalities).
Through Council direction, the Township facilitates the regular business of the municipality. The Township also provides many services to the residents and businesses in the community in the areas of governance and administration, public works and infrastructure, economic development, and community programs and services for all ages. We work together to make Scugog one of the best communities to live, work, and play.
View the highlights of the agreement.
A ceremony was held on Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 8:30 a.m., as the Township of Scugog had the honour of raising the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation flag at its Municipal Office. Council representatives from both the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation and the Township of Scugog, as well as local dignitaries, members of the public and municipal staff were in attendance and shared in the pride of recognizing Scugog’s First Peoples.
The Township of Scugog added additional flag poles at the Municipal Office to help to promote inclusion and allowed the Township to proudly fly the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.
In memory of the 160 First Nation, Métis and Inuit children who were uncovered in unmarked graves on the site of the former Kuper Island Residential School near Vancouver Island, B.C.; the 182 children who were uncovered in unmarked graves on the site of the former St. Eugene's Mission School in Cranbrook, B.C.; the 751 children on the site of the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan; the 215 children discovered on the Kamloops Indian Residential School grounds in Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc territory, B.C. and those that are still to be found, we are sharing support and resources for Indigenous Peoples and others impacted by these events.
The resources below also contain important information about the history of residential schools, the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action and more. We understand this content includes distressing information, and we hope that you can access the resources you need to feel supported.
The Region encourages residents to reflect on our relationships – both past and present – with Indigenous Peoples, and to move forward with reconciliation in our hearts, minds and actions.
The first and only provincial First Nations Health Authority in Canada working to transform and reform the way health care is delivered to British Columbia First Nations.
Visit the First Nations Health Authority website.
An Indigenous-led charitable organization.
The Bawaajigewin Aboriginal Community Circle (BACC) is an Aboriginal-led incorporated non-profit agency in the Durham Region.
Visit the website for the Bawaajigewin - An Aboriginal Community Circle Oshawa.
Mental Health Services, Help and Support in Durham Region: eMentalHealth.ca.
Healing services cater for Anisnaabekwewag and their families through traditional Anishnaabe spirituality, but they welcome people from all nations. They serve the geographic area of Turtle Island, including Durham Region.
Hope for Wellness Help Line offers immediate mental health counselling and crisis intervention by phone or online chat. Call toll-free 1-855-242-3310 or start a confidential chat with a counsellor at hopeforwellness.ca.