May 27, 2021
This land that we call Toronto is the ancestral and current territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee Confederacies, the Chippewa and the Wendat people. A confluence of rivers, Tkaronto—meaning “where there are trees standing in the water” (ie. a fishing point)—has been a gathering place of cultures for long before the land was colonized by the British. The treaty—Treaty 13—signed between the British and the Mississaugas of the Credit (Anishinaabeg) in 1805, but in legal dispute until 2010, does not absolve us from stewardship of this land’s history. Those of us who have gathered here since colonization have a duty to understand these histories and stories and reflect on our role in righting relations on this land.
Before European colonization, this land was governed by what is known as the Dish With One Spoon (also the Dish with no Sharp Objects, and Beaver Bowl) wampum belt covenant, an agreement between the Anishinaabeg and the Haudenosaunee about how to care for the lush, but finite wealth of this land. The Spoon reminds us that we must share our resources, take only what is needed and do no harm. Acknowledging our shared responsibility to this land, calls us to reaffirm Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto’s (LIFT) mandate to promote equity and to support artists in the telling of histories and stories that have been unheard, stolen or ignored.
We encourage you to learn more by visiting the below resource links:
Whose Land is a web-based app that uses GIS technology to assist users in identifying Indigenous Nations, territories, and Indigenous communities across Canada. https://www.whose.land/en
Native-Land.ca is resource for North Americans (and others) to find out more about local Indigenous territories and languages.
The Toronto Purchase happened in 1805 (http://mncfn.ca/torontopurchase) After the murder of Chief Wabikinine the Mississauga were removed from Toronto (https://torontoist.com/2015/05/historicist-the-murder-of-wabakinine).
A defining moment for Tkaronto: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/a-defining-moment-for-tkaronto/article18432992
What excavations have revealed about Toronto’s Indigenous history: https://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2018/06/16/mapping-torontos-indigenous-roots.html
LIFT sees this as a living document and we commit to returning to revisit it as our understanding grows.