The Town of Newmarket is marking National Indigenous Peoples Day with the unveiling of a land acknowledgement plaque tomorrow.
The ceremony at the municipal offices will be witnessed by the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation and livestreamed on Facebook at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 19.
The Indigenous land acknowledgement plaque may be the first to be permanently erected on a town or city hall in Ontario, according to Newmarket Mayor John Taylor.
“Today is a very important day and step for Newmarket in becoming a more inclusive community,” Taylor said in an advisory. “The work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has taught us that we need to have more meaningful and ongoing dialogue within our community and with our Indigenous neighbours to better understand the impacts of historic injustices and how to participate in a better future."
"We are proud as a council to be taking this step," he added, thanking the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation for "their willingness to engage with Newmarket as we strengthen our relationships with them and Indigenous people living in our community.”
“We would like to thank the mayor of Newmarket and his council for taking the initiative to create a relationship with the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation. Recognizing the First Peoples of this land is a step toward reconciliation and we are honoured to be here today to witness the unveiling of the plaque created with that recognition. Miigwetch," said Chief Donna BigCanoe of Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation in the advisory.
Due to physical distancing and social gathering restrictions, residents are invited to view the event live at 11 a.m. Friday at Facebook.com/TownofNewmarket.
The agenda includes smudging and drumming ceremonies by Hayley Williamson, remarks by Mayor Taylor and Chief Donna BigCanoe, and the plaque unveiling.