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OARTY will begin today by acknowledging that we are meeting on indigenous land that has been inhabited by indigenous people from the beginning. As settlers, we are grateful for the opportunity to gather here, and we thank all the generations of people who have taken care of this land.

We want to acknowledge that Canada continues to be a colonizing country and not just one which has colonized historically. The modern-day child welfare system has colonial roots that traumatized indigenous families and communities on their land through practices such as the 60’s scoop and residential systems.

Long before today, there have been indigenous people who have been stewards of these lands.  We respectfully acknowledge that the City of Vaughan is situated in the Territory and Treaty 13 lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. We also recognize the traditional territory of the Huron-Wendat and the Haudenosaunee.   We also recognize the contributions Metis, Inuit and other indigenous peoples have made, both in shaping and strengthening this community, our province and the country as a whole.

As settlers, we have work to do to educate ourselves and we are committed to listening and learning from our Indigenous partners as we move towards Reconciliation. We recognize our personal and collective roles and responsibilities to reconciliation and de-colonization.

As care service providers we must:

  • Acknowledge how we have been implicit and/or active in systems that reinforce colonial values and harm.
  • Engage in active relationship building with indigenous communities and partners, and continuously support and amplify Indigenous voices. We must listen, learn, and act to repair the damage done and prevent any further trauma.
  • Educate ourselves on trauma informed, culturally safe and sensitive approaches to out of home care.
  • Embed Jordan’s Principle in our services.
  • Educate ourselves on The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) 94 Calls to Action.
  • Work with our partners and government to address the disproportionate number of Indigenous children and youth involved with the Child Welfare sector.
  • Support Indigenous young people to access community-based Indigenous resources.
  • Educate all the children and youth in our care about Indigenous history and present issues impacting Indigenous peoples.
  • Recognize and support the sovereignty of First Nations and their inherent right to care for their own children within their own communities.

OARTY is dedicated to seeking solutions for the inequality and exclusion that are a direct result of the history and legacy of colonization and anti-Indigenous racism.  We acknowledge that our practices are inheritors of this history, and we strive to become more intentional and reflective in relation to current practices.