Illustrative GIF of an indigenous woman with flowers flowing from her mouth

Illustration by Chief Lady Bird

6 must-reads about Indigenous culture in the GTA

A collection of our best reads on the changemakers and issues in Toronto’s Indigenous communities

Aboriginal Awareness Week is May 22 to 25, 2019, but Indigenous culture is something we at prefer to recognize, celebrate and honour year-round. At last count, 46,315 of Toronto’s 2.9-million-plus citizens identified as Indigenous, so this community, its history and its issues are important to our city and region, no matter what day it is.

That’s why we’ve gathered up our best reads on the subject all in one place. From changemaker profiles to in-depth explainers, here are six things you need to know about Indigenous culture in the city and across the GTA.

• Land acknowledgements have become an important first step in truth and reconciliation efforts in Canada. But maybe you’re not sure about the history of these ceremonies and why recognizing the land’s original occupants is vital—or perhaps you’re uncertain how to participate in them respectfully. Writer Selena Mills takes you through all the basics in her thoughtful guide to Indigenous land acknowledgements.

• Follow up with this multimedia explainer on the oral history of Tkaronto. Writer Selena Mills and narrator Sarah Roque shed light on the history of the land that modern-day Toronto stands on, with beautiful illustrations by artist Chief Lady Bird.

• If you haven’t already heard about her work, you need to meet Roberta Jamieson. This lawyer, advocate and Indigenous leader is a force for change who’s working to make education accessible to Indigenous students. Prepare to be inspired!

• Get an inside look at Toronto’s first Indigenous Fashion Week, the brainchild of designer Sage Paul. See how her heritage has inspired her creative endeavours—and find out how she’s supporting and promoting the careers of others in the Indigenous fashion community.

• Next, read how scholar Jesse Thistle has combined his lived experience with his academic prowess to improve the lives of Indigenous people experiencing homelessness. He says that building meaningful relationships is the first step toward keeping Indigenous youth connected and out of the cycle of homelessness and poverty he fell into as a young man.

• Want to know more? Much more? Check out our lineup of five GTA places to learn about Indigenous culture. You can study history, arts and languages with teachers from the community, take a bus tour to learn about the history of the land, find out about volunteering opportunities and much more.

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