Where We Are
We live, gather, and organize on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabe Nation and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Senecas, the Huron-Wendat, the Petun, and the present-day Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit who carry on stewardship of this land.
The land on which we organize is governed by the Dish With One Spoon Treaty, made between the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee as a commitment to share responsibilities of care-taking of the land around what is now Southern Ontario. The Dish (or bowl) represents the land in this region, and the One Spoon represents the notion that all peoples should be able to share in the resources of the land equally, without any knives being present that may lead to bloodshed. Over time, subsequent Indigenous nations and peoples, and settlers have been invited into this treaty in the spirit of peace and respect. (Source: John Burrows, Anthony Hall, Darlene Johnson, Leanne Simpson)
This land has also been the subject of the 1613 Two Row Wampum Belt Convenant between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and Dutch settlers in this region. This covenant outlined the relations as being equal, and parallel. According to Kanien’kehá:ka historian Ray Fadden, the Haudenosaunee rejected this notion and instead proposed:
“We will not be like Father and Son, but like Brothers. [Our treaties] symbolize two paths or two vessels, travelling down the same river together. One, a birchbark canoe, will be for the Indian People, their laws, their customs, and their ways. The other, a ship, will be for the white people and their laws, their customs, and their ways. We shall each travel the river together, side by side, but in our own boat. Neither of us will make compulsory laws nor interfere in the internal affairs of the other. Neither of us will try to steer the other’s vessel.” (Source: A Short Introduction to the Two Row Wampum, Tom Keefer)
As we organize around anti-racism and decolonization, we recognize the ways in which our presence on this land upholds colonialism and reproduces dispossession and violence for Indigenous people. For those of us who are settlers, we commit to working and learning more about how we can prioritize upholding conditions of the treaties that govern this land.