The Indigenous Community Vision for Hamilton
Over the last year, the Coalition of Hamilton of Indigenous Leadership (CHIL) has been engaged in an ongoing conversation with Indigenous community members of Hamilton about what we need in Hamilton to thrive. Online and in-person, CHIL staff have been a part of over 20 conversations with community and have engaged over 300 Indigenous community members to draft this first iteration of an Indigenous community vision for Hamilton.
The reclamation of land, culture, and community have been consistent threads throughout our conversations with community. We have used these threads to weave together high-level examples community members have shared as to what achieving reclamation of land, culture, and community looks like in action.
The Indigenous community vision presented here is the first iteration of our collective hopes and desires for our shared future. We look forward to continuing this work through conversations and reflections with community to ensure the Indigenous community vision for Hamilton not only advances and becomes our reality, but also to ensure our community vision remains relevant to the needs of community.
The Indigenous Community Vision was gifted to community on September 30th, 2022 during the E YETI YA DA NOHS DA:T OGWAK SADAH "Lifting up Our Children" event at Gage Park.
The Coalition of Hamilton Indigenous Leadership Staff
Download the summary Indigenous Community Vision for Hamilton: 2022 Indigenous Community Vision for Hamilton (summary)
Download the full Indigenous Community Vision for Hamilton: 2022 Indigenous Community Vision for Hamilton (full)
Yonkhi'nistenha Onhwentsya (Our Mother Earth - Land)
Indigenous community members have access to land throughout Hamilton. which is stewarded by community and specifically for Indigenous community to gather, put ceremony through, socialize,
learn, and practice traditional activities.
Tsi Niyonkwariho:tens (Our ways - Culture)
Indigenous cultures, Knowledges, and ways of being are valued as fundamental to reconciliation in Hamilton and prioritized in community planning and investments.
Ronnonkwehon:we (Original Peoples - Indigenous Community)
The relationships within and between Indigenous individuals and families are strengthened through diverse and accessible opportunities to connect and engage in healthy activities.
Ne Ayonkwata'kari:teke (For us to be healthy)
Indigenous ways of knowing and practicing health and well-being are respected and available wherever community members seek healthcare.
The healthcare system in Hamilton is safe for Indigenous community members to access and reflects their healthcare needs.
Rotiya'tano:ronh (They are precious - Two-Spirit)
The traditional roles and responsibilities of Two-Spirit community members are honoured and welcomed throughout the City of Hamilton.
The voices and experiences of Indigenous community members identifying as 2S-LGBTQ+ are prioritized and uplifted at all community decision-making tables.
Yonkwateweyenhstenhatye (We are learning - Education)
Indigenous ways of Knowing and learning are highly valued and accessible across all education institutions in Hamilton.
Tsi Yonkwayo'te (Our work - Employment)
Reconciliation principles are highly visible and well-supported in each of Hamilton’s major economic industries.
Sken:nen Akenhake (Peace - Justice)
The justice system in Hamilton is re-envisioned to redress the systemic causes of the over-representation of Indigenous Peoples within Canada’s current justice system.
Indigenous senior leadership roles and support staff are implemented across all departments of the City of Hamilton.
Indigenous organizations are provided core funding to ensure long-term sustainability of fundamental Indigenous programs and services.
Visualizing the Indigenous Community Vision
The brilliant images representing the Indigenous community vision were designed by Brent Beauchamp.
My name is Brent Beauchamp. I am a 23-year-old indigenous artist born and raised on Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve. I am Onondaga and Anishinaabe. Currently I am in my final year at Sheridan College in the Bachelor of Animation (Honors) program.
My artistic skills range from traditional drawing to 2D animation and graphic design. My creativity is deeply rooted in my indigeneity and I was drawing ever since I was a toddler. I hope my work sparks inspiration in other indigenous artists and opens a lens for others to see how beautiful and colorful indigenous culture really is. For my future goals I hope to work in the animation industry but also do graphic design as well. I hope to open pathways and spaces for indigenous artists like me to showcase their creative talents and provide more space for representation.
Advancing the Indigenous
In every conversation community reminded us that the drafting of an Indigenous community vision must be followed by meaningful action and investments.
The Indigenous community vision for Hamilton can not be achieved by the Indigenous community alone. Reconciliation calls us all to contribute to transformative changes that will meaningfully redress historic harms, which have created, caused, and perpetuated ongoing disempowerment of Indigenous Peoples.
The investments and actions to achieve the Indigenous community vision for Hamilton must be rooted in the spirit of reconciliation and be done in ways that respect and enhance the capacity of the Indigenous community to lead the way.
VISIONS are NOT Special Projects
The Indigenous community vision for Hamilton is not a “special project” and is unlikely to be achieved if built on “special project”
Achieving the Indigenous community vision for Hamilton requires long-term meaningful commitment and investment in Indigenous Peoples and places throughout Hamilton by multiple community partners and all levels of government.
To redress the destructive legacies of colonization, the investments in Indigenous Peoples and communities must be as widespread and pervasive as the funding and support Canada provided for each of it's colonial policies enacted against Indigenous Peoples.
Using the Vision to Guide ACTION
It is especially important to note that the Indigenous community vision must not be called upon only on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation or National Indigenous Peoples Day as something Hamilton aspires to.
The Indigenous community vision for Hamilton must be regularly referred to by every organization that has claimed to be invested in reconciliation, including City of Hamilton leadership.
While each area of the vision will have nuanced evaluation criteria, organizations can immediately begin reflecting on the impact of their reconciliation work by simply asking “How does our work to advance reconciliation respond to the vision for Hamilton put
forward by the Indigenous community?”
The Indigenous community vision for Hamilton is gifted to our city to nurture existing relationships and inspire new collaborations.
To share your thoughts and to follow along on CHIL’s work to advance the Indigenous community vision for Hamilton,
email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org