What came up at the Frontrunners Screening Event was that one Must.Tread.Very.Subtly when it comes to campaigning for explicit recognition of the pre-contact peoples on whose land Toronto & area were built — as per MC’s declared research-public orientation.
Tragically — and very, very human-imperfectly — were one to settle for the term “Mississauga Land”, then one would be aggravating the feeling of dispossession of nations/people who do not identify with the “Mississauga” moniker, but whose ancestors, at one point in the past or another, have also “lived” here.
WHAT SHOULD THE SIGN,
RESPECTFULLY-&-FAIRLY ACKNOWLEDGING ALL THOSE PEOPLE,
One probe into the question of “Whose Land” below by Wayne Roberts, in NOW Magazine of July 11, 2013.
…Now we have “Toronto, traditional territory of the Mississauga,” a phrase that opens political meetings these days as speakers remind participants whose land and legacy we are standing on. Even Premier Wynne says it.
On June 24 at the Oakville Public Library, Don Smith launched Mississauga Portraits (U of T Press), about eight accomplished Mississaugas of the 1800s and how they negotiated the dangers of that era.
We should start by getting the vocabulary right. According to Smith, Europeans’ “minimal interest in Ojibway language and history” explains the designation “Mississauga.” But they weren’t a small tribe; they were members of the Ojibway nation that controlled an area stretching through present-day Ontario and the U.S. Midwest, with a common language and identification.
When NOW consults Margaret Sault, director of lands, membership and research of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, she’s categorical. “‘Mississauga’ is a colonial word,” she says. “Ojibway, Chippewa – it’s what the Dutch, the British or the French called us. We’re Anishnabe.” That word translates as “human beings.”…
Credit: NOW magazine image from “Whose Land” article, July 11, 2013