City of Windsor Observes National Indigenous Peoples Day

National Indigenous Peoples Day takes place on the summer solstice, June 21 each year. It is a special occasion that provides another opportunity to learn more about the rich and diverse cultures, voices, experiences and histories of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples. Learning about Indigenous Peoples, places and experiences is a step forward each Canadian can take on the path to reconciliation.

Recognized as one of Canada’s most diverse and multicultural communities, the City of Windsor was developed on land that is the traditional territory of the Anishnabeg people of the Three Fires Confederacy (Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi). Before Europeans arrived, the land along the Detroit River was referred to as Waawiiyaatanong by the Indigenous populations. Due to Windsor’s unique location along the Detroit River, many different groups have called this area home including: Haudenosaunee, Attawandaron (Neutral), and Huron (Wyandot) peoples. Today, many Indigenous people and Metis across Turtle Island call this area home. The City is thankful to be able to share our history in this area.

For National Indigenous Peoples Day, the City has encouraged all municipal staff to take time throughout the day to focus on the important stories and contributions of Indigenous peoples to the City of Windsor, and the broader global community. The City is also offering opportunities for engagement and to increase awareness for members of the community including free admission to the Chimczuk Museum, online engagement with the Indigenous Storyteller for the City, and a special evening illumination of Windsor City Hall in orange on June 21.

Museum Windsor Exhibition & Free Admission

In honour of June as Indigenous History Month, Museum Windsor’s Changing the Landscape of Windsor-Essex: The McKee Treaty temporary exhibition displays the original No. 2 Treaty, also known as the McKee Treaty, on loan from Library and Archives Canada. This treaty was negotiated between the British and the Three Fires Confederacy and Huron (Wyandot) and was signed at Detroit in 1790. Everyone has an opportunity to witness history in this seldom seen but critically important artifact on display at the Chimczuk Museum. Visitors can enjoy free admission to the Chimczuk Museum on June 21 in honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Also at this museum, guests can visit the permanent exhibition The Original Peoples Culture and Legacy Gallery. Located at the north end of the main floor concourse, this space reflects the culture, heritage, and contemporary issues of the local First Nations and Metis communities. It also provides an open and flexible gathering space for programming. This permanent exhibit was developed in consultation with local Indigenous community members and organizations. Features include Creation Stories, Treaties, Residential Schools and the 60s Scoop, Language Revitalization, Missing and Murdered Women, Medicine Wheel Teachings, and Cultural Expressions. Museum Windsor also currently features the temporary exhibitions Riverside 100, Navigating Our Way – Maps of Windsor and Essex County, To Catch A Show: Windsor Cinema & Theatre History, COVID-19 Community Quilt display, and Windsor Hand made: Twenty Artists – Twenty Expressions. Visit MuseumWindsor.ca for more information.

Theresa Sims, Indigenous Storyteller for the City of Windsor

Did you know that Knowledge Keeper and Elder Theresa Sims was recently appointed Indigenous Storyteller for the City of Windsor? Sims is from the upper Mohawk, Turtle Clan of the Six Nations Reserve. She has lived in Windsor since 1998, and worked in various capacities such as Elder and Culture and Language Specialist for Ska:na Family Learning Centre. For over twenty years, Sims has fulfilled requests by the public and Catholic school boards to provide opening welcome, stories, songs and dance for children from junior kindergarten to grade twelve. She has opened conferences for the University of Windsor and for the City of Windsor, and often provides a local perspective on Indigenous issues to media. There are many ways to view Theresa Sims at work online, including:

Of the role as the inaugural Indigenous Storyteller for the City of Windsor, Sims – who had a special ceremonial sash designed and created by Native Wonders Gifts & Gallery on Ottawa Street, says: “My role is to teach using my gifts, of oral history, songs, and dances.”

Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island

Each June, Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI) also commemorates National Indigenous Month while recognizing the Indigenous culture in our area is important as it is the basis of many traditions, customs, languages, and our connections to the land and life-sustaining resources all the time. Their online list includes many interesting facts, attractions and points of interest in Windsor Essex that relate to Indigenous history. TWEPI encourages everyone to explore and learn while visiting the attractions listed on their site.

Windsor Indigenous Solidarity Day – June 21, 12 to 4 p.m., at Mic Mac Park, the Can-Am Urban Native Non-Profit Homes, University of Windsor Aboriginal Education Centre, and Ska:na Family Learning Centre are organizing an event featuring entertainment and games for kids, as well as frybread tacos.

For more information on National Indigenous Peoples Day, and more, visit

 
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