Our commitment to reconciliation
On Friday, September 28, OTF staff across Ontario participated in Orange Shirt Day, a day to show solidarity with residential school system survivors. We observed the day by wearing orange “Every Child Matters” shirts and attended a learning event, in-person and via Skype, with guest speaker Tanya Talaga, Toronto Star Reporter, author of Seven Fallen Feathers, and presenter of the 2018 CBC Massey Lectures, “All Our Relations”.
In June 2015, the Ontario Trillium Foundation signed The Philanthropic Community's Declaration of Action. Signatories pledged to work towards reconciliation through this collective commitment, by ensuring that positive action will continue beyond the work of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Through our enactment of recommendations made by OTF’s Indigenous Affinity Group, we are demonstrating an ongoing commitment to reconciliation and supporting Indigenous communities. In 2018, OTF took these steps toward delivering on the commitment to reconciliation we made in 2015.
In June 2018, OTF acquired artwork by Chief Lady Bird (Potawatomi and Chippewa) entitled Nathalie, to display in the lobby of our Toronto offices at 800 Bay Street. Chief Lady Bird uses portraiture as a method of uplifting diverse Indigenous womxn who exhibit their identity in different ways. The vibrant piece celebrates Indigenous identity and culture and welcomes Indigenous staff and stakeholders into our space.
In March 2018, OTF staff visited the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford to learn about the former residential school, the Mohawk Institute, and the history of the colonial system that inflicted harm to generations of Indigenous peoples.
OTF partnered with The Circle on Philanthropy and Indigenous Peoples in Canada to increase organizational capacity and strengthen relationships between Indigenous organizations and philanthropic organizations working to support Indigenous communities across Ontario. The Circle develops programs and spaces that cultivate better conversations, connections, and relationships among Indigenous people and communities, The Circle has a long history of working with OTF, starting with a grant in 2011 that resulted in the launch of the organization to increase innovation and investment in Indigenous communities.
OTF continues to update our Land Acknowledgment page based on the recommendations of Indigenous leaders. We also update our Commitment to Reconciliation page, where we publicly acknowledge our commitment to reconciliation made through the signing the Declaration of Action.
We will continue to learn and remember, understand and acknowledge, participate and act.