The work of the Ontario Camps Association, and that of its Members, takes place on traditional territories of the Indigenous nations who have lived on these lands since time immemorial.
The province of Ontario is covered by 46 treaties, agreements, and land purchases, as well as unceded territories. It continues to be home to many Indigenous people who live alongside settlers, newcomers, and people whose ancestors were enslaved across the Americas and the Caribbean. We are grateful to live and work on this land.
Recognizing this in a meaningful way means making commitments to sharing truths and taking active steps towards reconciliation. This includes sharing and upholding responsibilities to all who now live on these lands and the land itself. In our work, let us be mindful of these commitments.
Many camp professionals are currently engaged in the process of unlearning, reflection, seeking guidance, and re-evaluating their camp traditions. This includes recognizing the hard truths that colonialism has deep roots in many camps across North America: In their original founding, camp programs may have appropriated, homogenized, or stereotyped Indigenous cultures.
As an Association, we support and encourage the efforts of our camps and outdoor education centres to engage with this process, and will provide support through professional development, educational resources, and reconciliation opportunities.
Here are a few resources to help as you take initial active steps towards reconciliation:
Research your regional First Nations – Learn, Connect and Collaborate
Land Acknowledgements and Why They Matter Video https://www.uoguelph.ca/land-acknowledgement
Whose Land – https://www.whose.land/en/ (has examples – videos) along with lesson plans. Great site
Map of Ontario treaties and reserves – https://www.ontario.ca/page/map-ontario-treaties-and-reserves