Flag raised as part of Toronto celebrations of National Indigenous People’s Day

Jun 20, 2023 | Life

Toronto’s acting Mayor Jennifer McKelvie and the founding partner Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation raised the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation flag to celebrate the Indigenous Arts Festival today at Fort York National Historic Site.

Chief R. Stacey LaForme, Chief of the Mississauga’s of the New Credit First Nation, said the flag represents that Toronto remembers the people of this land and respects their history.

“The history is complicated,” he said. “It is not just somewhere you come out and see a flag flying in the air, it’s saying I remember the people of this land.”

McKelvie said that the Indigenous Arts Festival began in 2012 as a weekend event to celebrate National Indigenous People’s Month and gathered more than 20,000 people last year.

“We all know that while we recognize this month, it is important that we continue that work every day in the city of Toronto and that we commit to truth and reconciliation,” she said.

“We know flags are powerful, but of course, our actions are so much more important than that, and it’s important that we keep that in mind as well.”

The Native Men’s Residence Na-Me-Res is hosting its 21st annual traditional Pow Wow in celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day and to raise awareness about Indigenous men who are homeless in Toronto.

Na-Me-Res’ mission is to provide outreach services and permanent housing to Indigenous men experiencing homelessness in Toronto while also providing outreach and support services to the broader population, according to their website.

A recent report by the City of Toronto states that 15 per cent (1,042) of people experiencing homelessness are Indigenous, despite the fact that Indigenous people only make up 0.5 per cent of the city’s population. However, according to Made in CA research, June 1, 2023, 30 per cent of Canadian homeless come from Indigenous communities.

According to Statistics Canada, First Nations people living off reserve (12 per cent), Métis (6 per cent), and Inuit (10 per cent) are more likely to have experienced unsheltered homelessness than the non-Indigenous population.

Grand Entry and Na-Me-Res Pow Wow start at 12 p.m. followed by the Flag Song, Opening Prayers, Veteran’s Song, Drum Roll Call and Dance Exhibitions.

All visitors have to follow certain rules, such as always asking permission before taking photos of dancers in regalia and never touching a dancer’s regalia, according to the City of Toronto website. Also, smoking is considered disrespectful, and alcohol, drugs, or firearms are not permitted.

Upcoming events to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day in Toronto:

June 18, the Indigenous Arts Festival will be at Fort York’s Garrison Common at 10 a.m.

The free event features traditional and modern Indigenous music, dance and First Nations, Inuit, and Métis culture.

June 21 at 5:30 a.m., is National Indigenous Peoples Day Sunrise Ceremony at Nathan Phillips Square.

June 21 to 24 is the Tkaronto Music Festival at Stackt Market to mark National Indigenous Month.

June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration at Toronto Metropolitan University.

And June 21 to 25, in Peterborough, Ont., will be the Nogojiwanong Indigenous Fringe Festival, centred around Indigenous multi-disciplinary artists.

Indigenous performers and artists from around Ontario will perform theatre, music, poetry, and dance.