It’s #Canada15000 not #Canada150 – Celebrating First Nations Heritage in Canada
Canada as a nation state is 150 years old this year. The hashtag #Canada150 is making the rounds on social media and marketers (like me!) are on a blitz promoting our vast country and the many ways to celebrate the anniversary. As a result Canada is topping all the lists of 2017 travel destinations.
Not surprisingly, there are countless events being planned to mark the occasion. One crazy company (that’s us!) was inspired to launch an amazing 3 month, 8,800 km coast to coast cycle tour. That said, I’ve been to bars in Europe that are hundreds of years older than Canada. Surely some people must be rolling their eyes at this young nation’s ‘big birthday.’
But First Nations people of Canada must really cringe at the birthday celebration. The truth is that the story of our nation – its people and how we all got here – started long before July 1, 1867. Every few years archaeologists unearth artifacts dating further back in time that confirm their presence on this continent millennia before the arrival of the first Europeans – another such site on Canada’s east coast was discovered earlier this month. So far, from what I’ve read, the oldest artifacts discovered date back 15,500 years.
So it’s cute to say we are 150 years old this year and Canadians certainly need little urging to throw a party (have you heard of May Two-Four weekend?), but its also crucial that we not get ahead of ourselves, and lose sight of the historical truths. Perhaps #Canada15000 is a little more accurate…
— Rudayna (@Rudayna_B) April 5, 2017
— Danielle Parish (@danielleparish_) April 10, 2017
Recognizing Traditional Territories of the First Nations
So let’s take a moment to acknowledge some of the ancestral land that our cycle tour will cross thru as we pedal our vast (and very young) nation. Our cycle tour covers some 8,800 km and every one of those kilometers is connected to the First Nations of our country.
I have tried to be precise and to properly acknowledge lands using online resources such as Native-Land.ca and other websites, but my efforts here have likely fallen short of the mark. Proper appreciation of these vast territories requires an understanding of an entirely different way of looking at maps, and land, and ownership. I am reminded not only of how enormous this country is, but how important it is for us to recognize all our peoples whose ancestors trace their lineage much further back on this land than my heritage does.
With all that in mind, we would like to not only acknowledge the following First Nations territories, but celebrate each of their cultures with respect throughout our bicycle journey…
Traditional Territories in the Haida Gwaii & the Rockies section:
The lands on which we will be cycling are the traditional territories of the Haida, Tsimshian, Gitxsan, Wet’suwet’en, Dakelh, Stoney, Aseniwuche Winewak (Rocky Mountain), Tsuu T’ina, Blackfoot, Kelly Lake Metis Settlement Society, and Ktunaxa peoples.
Traditional Territories in the Wheat Kings section:
Traditional Territories in the Great Lakes section:
The lands on which we will be cycling are the traditional territories of the Métis, Ojibway/Chippewa, Mississaugas of the New Credit, Cree, Anishinabek, Huron-Wendat, and Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) peoples.
Traditional Territories in the Upper & Lower Canada section:
The lands on which we will be cycling are the traditional territories of the Ojibway/Chippewa, Mississaugas of the New Credit, Cree, Anishinabek, Huron-Wendat, Algonquin, Abenaki / Abénaquis, Malécites, Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), and Haudenosaunee (St Lawrence Iroquois) peoples.
Traditional Territories in the Acadian Way section:
Our Contribution to the Truth and Reconciliation Centre
So with respect to the original inhabitants of Turtle Island (did you know North America is known as Turtle Island to many native people), and in recognition of the many ways Canada has failed them, the TDA Foundation is happy to make a significant donation to the National Truth and Reconciliation Centre (located on our Oh, Canada! cycling route in Winnipeg, Manitoba).
We encourage each of you and all the participants on this tour to consider doing the same in honour of the land that has been shared by Canada’s First Nations with settlers and immigrants from Europe and around the world.
Interactive Map of First Nations Territories, Treaties, and Languages
Smithsonian magazine – When did humans come the the Americas
Toronto Star – Indigenous people are not ghosts of history
University of Toronto – Canada 150 or Canada 15000