The turtle represents “Truth,” which is one of the Seven Grandfather Teachings of the Ojibwe.
The 94 orange flowers growing out of the top of the turtle represent the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 Calls to Action.
The flowering garden connects land, water and sky, and represents the possibility that through reconciliation we have new direction and growth for Indigenous communities across Turtle Island.
(Illustration by Hawlii Pichette of Urban Iskwew)
September 30th is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, acknowledging and commemorating the traumatic legacy of residential schools in Canada and its ongoing effects in Indigenous communities. As a provincial agency, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) recognizes the importance of this day as well as OAC’s role within the larger colonial structure of government.
The OAC has a responsibility towards the Indigenous communities, artists and arts organizations that it serves as a public funder of the arts.
Therefore, OAC is recognizing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with the following actions:
- OAC offices will be closed on September 30th to prioritize reflection on Canada’s history with Indigenous peoples.
- The OAC will be expanding its land acknowledgment policy to include both internal and external meetings. In addition, OAC’s land acknowledgment will be posted on our website and added to staff email signatures as a reminder of our shared responsibility in the stewardship of the land.
- OAC staff will participate in a training session specifically on decolonization to complement previous training sessions on residential schools and Indigenous culture in Ontario.
- OAC staff will take time to review the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
- The OAC will increase the visibility of projects and success stories of Indigenous artists and organizations on our social media platforms.
The Ontario Arts Council acknowledges that these actions are part of an ongoing and long-term commitment to reconciliation, and that this commitment must happen at both a personal and professional level.
As an agency committed to values of equity and access, OAC affirms its commitment to First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists based in Ontario through programs and initiatives that specifically aim to support their creativity, collaboration and success.
Hawlii Pichette of Urban Iskwew is a Mushkego Cree iskwew artist from Peetabeck Treaty 9 territory. Her practice includes illustrations, digital artwork, painting, murals, and beadwork.