June 30, 2021
Statement by Explorers’ Edge Executive Director re Canada Day 2021
I would like to speak openly and directly about the contention surrounding Canada Day 2021 celebrations and the divisive conversations that have risen this week around how to mark the event.
As a regional tourism organization, this subject is of particular consideration for us, as usually we would spend the days leading up to the event by putting our marketing into high gear to invite people to celebrate this event with us.
Not this year.
On behalf of Explorers’ Edge senior management, I acknowledge that, for us, this will be a day to reflect on the recent horrific discoveries at residential schools in Canada, on the pain and intergenerational trauma suffered by Indigenous peoples, and how, to truly celebrate Canada as the best country in the world, we also need to do our part to contribute to the reconciliation and healing of our First Nations, Métis and Inuit friends, neighbours and communities.
This Canada Day, our team reaffirms our commitment to learning more about Indigenous history and culture (including language lessons), particularly pertaining to our region. We will work to promote authentic Indigenous tourism experiences of the Anishinabek and Algonquin peoples within the Robinson Huron (1850) and Williams (1923) Treaties territory, and to build stronger relations with the First Nations in the Explorers’ Edge ‘catchment’ (Dokis First Nation, Henvey Inlet First Nation, Magnetawan First Nation, Shawanaga First Nation, Wasauksing First Nation, Moose Deer Point First Nation, Algonquins of Ontario (Whitney), Wahta Mohawk First Nation, and the Moon River Métis Council).
On Canada Day, our social media posts will feature images of the rocks (asiniig), trees (mitigoog) and lakes (zaaga’iganiin) that we all – as treaty people – are impacted by so deeply: our shared love for this place can perhaps be the starting point for moving forward.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge our friends and colleagues at Indigenous Tourism Ontario and the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada; both organizations work very hard to promote authentic Indigenous cultural experiences in Canada, and we look forward to continuing our partnerships with you.
Thank you / Chi-Miigwech,
Executive Director, Explorers’ Edge (RTO12)