Keep the Medicine Wheel in Place

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A Medicine Wheel was placed in front of City Hall last week to mark National Indigenous Peoples Day.  Upon sight of this stunning public work — a collaborative piece brought together by Toronto Council Fire Cultural Centre — we were struck by the sense of familiarity it evokes in this context.  It seems like it was always supposed to be there.  The city plans to remove it after Canada Day, to have it re-installed again in October for the Indian Residential School Survivors (IRSS) Legacy Celebration. This is definitely something to celebrate, yet, we don’t think it makes sense to remove it.  Anishinaabe presence and the balance embodied by this symbol should be a permanent fixture of our city. 

 WHEREAS Toronto is situated on Anishinaabe territory every day of the year;

AND WHEREAS the Medicine Wheel is an Anishinaabe symbol for balance, which is what we strive to achieve in the daily proceedings entailed in the governance of our city;

 AND WHEREAS the permanence of this fixture reflects the permanence of the Treaty relationship between settlers and First Nations that allows Toronto citizens to prosper on this land;

AND WHEREAS the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has called for the Government of Canada to work with Indigenous peoples to “reaffirm the nation-to-nation relationship” (45) and “Renew or establish Treaty relationships based on principles of mutual recognition, mutual respect, and shared responsibility for maintaining those relationships into the future” (45.iii);

 AND WHEREAS the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has called for the promotion of “public dialogue, public/private partnerships, and public initiatives for reconciliation” (53.iv);

AND WHEREAS in the spirit of reconciliation, Toronto as a major Canadian mega-city should position itself as a leader;

We, the undersigned, call on Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council and the Municipal Government of Toronto to keep the Medicine Wheel in place as a permanent fixture in front of City Hall.

This petition was initiated by Indigenous educators living on Dish With One Spoon territory Bonita Uzoruo, Shannon Kimewon, and Janet Csontos.