ONN’s work, and the work of our network, take place on traditional Indigenous territories all around Ontario. The ONN office is located at Foundation House. Elder Pauline Shirt referred to Foundation House as “Sitoskatsewin”, which means “balancing one another”. It is located on the traditional territory of the Wendat, the Haudenosaunee, and the Mississaugas of the Credit. This territory is part of the Dish with One Spoon Treaty, an agreement between the Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee and allied nations to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. This territory is also covered by the Upper Canada Treaties.
We offer our gratitude and solidarity to the Indigenous peoples who have, and continue to care for, protect and defend this land. Although it is important to acknowledge the land, it is only a first step. Allyship is a continuous process; it is not a designation that one can earn and hold forevermore.
As settlers within the nonprofit sector it is important that we recognize that colonization is an economic project based on land theft, genocide and violence, as stated in the Yellowhead Institute Red Paper, “Cash Back”. We are all treaty signers, and are thus responsible and accountable for the violence that Indigenous peoples face. The impacts of colonization and white supremacy can be felt, heard and seen within every industry such as education, health, social service, justice systems and more. As settler-led nonprofit organizations, it’s particularly important for us to name the active role we play in perpetuating colonization and white supremacy through historical, and current, policies and practices.
At ONN, we believe that, as nonprofits, we must take seriously our role in responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action. In our 2021-2022 policy priorities, we have made specific commitments to settler-Indigenous reconciliation and to promote the self-determination and well-being of Indigenous communities. This includes advancing our learning about decolonization and reviewing the Calls to Action of the TRC.
We also seek to partner with Indigenous organizations in respectful ways and learn from Indigenous communities about collective ownership, collective enterprise, and sustainable economic and environmental systems. We extend our respect to all First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples for their valuable past and present contributions. We are mindful of broken covenants and the need to reconcile with all our relations. Together, may we care for this land and each other, drawing on the strength of our mutual history of nation building through peace and friendship, keeping in mind the generations to come.
Please note that this acknowledgement will evolve over time. ONN is committed to addressing racism and white supremacy and working towards Truth, Reconciliation and Reciprocity and racial justice in the nonprofit sector and the communities our sector works alongside. This is a journey and ONN will continue to share updates as we act, learn, reflect, and remain accountable.