Muskoka Area Indigenous Leadership Table (MAILT)

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BACKGROUND
The District Municipality of Muskoka has a history of engagement with Indigenous Peoples, including the development of one of the first Archaeological Master Plans in Ontario (1994), a notification protocol that has been in place with Moose Deer Point First Nation since the late 1990s and re-ratified as recently as 2009, and more.

As part of the Official Plan review process in 2011, the District undertook a visioning exercise called Muskoka Moving Forward, and contracted Archaeology Services Inc. (ASI) to lead our engagement with Indigenous communities. Through extensive research, ASI determined that eight Indigenous Nations had a traditional tie or ongoing interest in the lands that now encompass Muskoka and should be included in consultation processes. These included:

In February 2019, the District reached out to these eight First Nations with a formal invitation to attend a meeting aimed at strengthening relations between the District and Indigenous Peoples with established ties to Muskoka. The letter of invitation contained a preliminary list of relationship-strengthening initiatives the District hoped to explore, including launching an Indigenous Leadership Table.

On June 18, 2019 the first Muskoka Area Indigenous Leadership Table (MAILT) was held at Moose Deer Point First Nation with representation from:

  • Moose Deer Point First Nation
  • Wahta Mohawks First Nation
  • Moon River Métis Council
  • Wasauksing First Nation
  • Chippewas of Rama First Nation
  • District of Muskoka
  • Township of Muskoka Lakes
  • Township of Georgian Bay

At this inaugural meeting two important decisions were made. First, the group agreed to broaden the membership to include all municipalities in Muskoka (e.g. Town of Bracebridge, Town of Gravenhurst, Town of Hunstsville, Township of Georgian Bay, Township of Lake of Bays, Township of Muskoka lakes and the District of Muskoka) and to meet quarterly. Second, the group agreed to strike subcommittees, or working groups, as needed.


MAILT FRIENDSHIP ACCORD
The Muskoka Area Indigenous Leadership Table (MAILT) signed a Friendship Accord on October 6, 2022. The MAILT Friendship Accord establishes a mutual ongoing commitment to the framework, intent and principles of engagement between participating members of the MAILT as represented by both elected officials and senior staff. The MAILT Friendship Accord can be found on the right-hand side of this page, linked under Resources. You can also view a recording of the meeting that took place at Chippewas of Rama First Nation.

Signatories to date include:

  • Chippewas of Rama First Nation
  • Huron-Wendat Nation (Wendake)
  • Moose Deer Point First Nation
  • Moon River Métis Council
  • Wahta Mohawks First Nation
  • District of Muskoka
  • Town of Bracebridge
  • Town of Huntsville
  • Town of Gravenhurst
  • Township of Lake of Bays
  • Township of Muskoka Lakes
  • Township of Georgian Bay


ACHIEVEMENTS
Since 2019, MAILT members have not only built relationships, they have tackled a number of projects and seen positive results, including:

  • Indigenous Awareness Training was delivered to 1,000 municipal Councillors, municipal staff, agency partners and community members;
  • A Land Acknowledgement Guidelines and Framework was created to ensure both elected officials and municipal staff understand the importance of Land Acknowledgement Statements and can deliver them in a personal, heartfelt and meaningful way;
  • All District Council and Committee meetings, as well as Council meetings at the lower tier municipalities, now open with Land Acknowledgement Statement; and
  • A project team is currently working on the renaming of Muskoka Road 38 to better reflect the Indigenous history, language and culture of the Wahta Mohawk First Nation, the Indigenous territory through which this road crosses. This pilot project will be used to inform the renaming of other public assets in Muskoka through a Road and Place Name Audit which is scheduled to kick-off in 2023. For more information on renaming Muskoka Road 38 go to www.engagemuskoka.ca/Road38

In addition, other initiatives have been positively influenced by the work of the MAILT including:

  • Colonization Road was renamed to Old Sinclair Road in the Township of Lake of Bays.;
  • The Muskoka Steamship and Discovery Centre in Gravenhurst is currently creating a 3,000 square foot exhibit called Misko-Aki: Confluence of Cultures. Misko-Aki will be a unique presentation of Indigenous cultures in Muskoka dating back more than 13,000 years and will be told entirely by Indigenous Peoples. In 2021, District Council contributed $175,000 to support this exhibit. It is set to open in 2023.
  • The District of Muskoka worked with Moose Deer Point First Nation to ensure their drinking water intake, located in 12-Mile Bay, was captured by Muskoka’s Official Plan and provided the protection required for all sources of drinking water in Ontario. Moose Deer Point First Nation cites this outcome as “reconciliation in action” after finding themselves in a regulatory vacuum.
  • In September 2022, Golf Ontario held its inaugural Indigenous Ontario Golf Championship. Representatives from 41 Indigenous communities throughout North America took part in this historic tournament.


SUBCOMMITTEES
To date, there have been two formal subcommittees of the Muskoka Area Indigenous Leadership Table (MAILT):

  1. The Land Acknowledgement Working Group was the first subcommittee of the overarching MAILT and was focused on creating a broad and meaningful Land Acknowledgement Statement to be used for opening special District events, District Council meetings and to include on appropriate District communications. This working group began meeting in the fall of 2019 and presented the Land Acknowledgement Framework and Guidelines to District Council in March 2021 (linked under Resources). The group has agreed to meet annually to review and update the document. All Municipal Council meetings in Muskoka are now being opened with a Land Acknowledgement.

  2. The Duty to Consult Working Group is a second subcommittee of the overarching MAILT which was formed in late 2019 to examine issues from both the Indigenous and Municipal perspective around the Duty to Consult, Consultation and Notification. This working group has reviewed best practices; worked together to better understand legal obligations; and proposed new solutions for the membership, including the development of the MAILT Friendship Accord to guide the ongoing relationship between MAILT members.


Minutes from the Muskoka Area Indigenous Leadership Table (MAILT) and subcommittees are linked to this page. All minutes posted are FINAL.
Comments made by individuals do not necessarily represent the opinion of the organization represented.

BACKGROUND
The District Municipality of Muskoka has a history of engagement with Indigenous Peoples, including the development of one of the first Archaeological Master Plans in Ontario (1994), a notification protocol that has been in place with Moose Deer Point First Nation since the late 1990s and re-ratified as recently as 2009, and more.

As part of the Official Plan review process in 2011, the District undertook a visioning exercise called Muskoka Moving Forward, and contracted Archaeology Services Inc. (ASI) to lead our engagement with Indigenous communities. Through extensive research, ASI determined that eight Indigenous Nations had a traditional tie or ongoing interest in the lands that now encompass Muskoka and should be included in consultation processes. These included:

In February 2019, the District reached out to these eight First Nations with a formal invitation to attend a meeting aimed at strengthening relations between the District and Indigenous Peoples with established ties to Muskoka. The letter of invitation contained a preliminary list of relationship-strengthening initiatives the District hoped to explore, including launching an Indigenous Leadership Table.

On June 18, 2019 the first Muskoka Area Indigenous Leadership Table (MAILT) was held at Moose Deer Point First Nation with representation from:

  • Moose Deer Point First Nation
  • Wahta Mohawks First Nation
  • Moon River Métis Council
  • Wasauksing First Nation
  • Chippewas of Rama First Nation
  • District of Muskoka
  • Township of Muskoka Lakes
  • Township of Georgian Bay

At this inaugural meeting two important decisions were made. First, the group agreed to broaden the membership to include all municipalities in Muskoka (e.g. Town of Bracebridge, Town of Gravenhurst, Town of Hunstsville, Township of Georgian Bay, Township of Lake of Bays, Township of Muskoka lakes and the District of Muskoka) and to meet quarterly. Second, the group agreed to strike subcommittees, or working groups, as needed.


MAILT FRIENDSHIP ACCORD
The Muskoka Area Indigenous Leadership Table (MAILT) signed a Friendship Accord on October 6, 2022. The MAILT Friendship Accord establishes a mutual ongoing commitment to the framework, intent and principles of engagement between participating members of the MAILT as represented by both elected officials and senior staff. The MAILT Friendship Accord can be found on the right-hand side of this page, linked under Resources. You can also view a recording of the meeting that took place at Chippewas of Rama First Nation.

Signatories to date include:

  • Chippewas of Rama First Nation
  • Huron-Wendat Nation (Wendake)
  • Moose Deer Point First Nation
  • Moon River Métis Council
  • Wahta Mohawks First Nation
  • District of Muskoka
  • Town of Bracebridge
  • Town of Huntsville
  • Town of Gravenhurst
  • Township of Lake of Bays
  • Township of Muskoka Lakes
  • Township of Georgian Bay


ACHIEVEMENTS
Since 2019, MAILT members have not only built relationships, they have tackled a number of projects and seen positive results, including:

  • Indigenous Awareness Training was delivered to 1,000 municipal Councillors, municipal staff, agency partners and community members;
  • A Land Acknowledgement Guidelines and Framework was created to ensure both elected officials and municipal staff understand the importance of Land Acknowledgement Statements and can deliver them in a personal, heartfelt and meaningful way;
  • All District Council and Committee meetings, as well as Council meetings at the lower tier municipalities, now open with Land Acknowledgement Statement; and
  • A project team is currently working on the renaming of Muskoka Road 38 to better reflect the Indigenous history, language and culture of the Wahta Mohawk First Nation, the Indigenous territory through which this road crosses. This pilot project will be used to inform the renaming of other public assets in Muskoka through a Road and Place Name Audit which is scheduled to kick-off in 2023. For more information on renaming Muskoka Road 38 go to www.engagemuskoka.ca/Road38

In addition, other initiatives have been positively influenced by the work of the MAILT including:

  • Colonization Road was renamed to Old Sinclair Road in the Township of Lake of Bays.;
  • The Muskoka Steamship and Discovery Centre in Gravenhurst is currently creating a 3,000 square foot exhibit called Misko-Aki: Confluence of Cultures. Misko-Aki will be a unique presentation of Indigenous cultures in Muskoka dating back more than 13,000 years and will be told entirely by Indigenous Peoples. In 2021, District Council contributed $175,000 to support this exhibit. It is set to open in 2023.
  • The District of Muskoka worked with Moose Deer Point First Nation to ensure their drinking water intake, located in 12-Mile Bay, was captured by Muskoka’s Official Plan and provided the protection required for all sources of drinking water in Ontario. Moose Deer Point First Nation cites this outcome as “reconciliation in action” after finding themselves in a regulatory vacuum.
  • In September 2022, Golf Ontario held its inaugural Indigenous Ontario Golf Championship. Representatives from 41 Indigenous communities throughout North America took part in this historic tournament.


SUBCOMMITTEES
To date, there have been two formal subcommittees of the Muskoka Area Indigenous Leadership Table (MAILT):

  1. The Land Acknowledgement Working Group was the first subcommittee of the overarching MAILT and was focused on creating a broad and meaningful Land Acknowledgement Statement to be used for opening special District events, District Council meetings and to include on appropriate District communications. This working group began meeting in the fall of 2019 and presented the Land Acknowledgement Framework and Guidelines to District Council in March 2021 (linked under Resources). The group has agreed to meet annually to review and update the document. All Municipal Council meetings in Muskoka are now being opened with a Land Acknowledgement.

  2. The Duty to Consult Working Group is a second subcommittee of the overarching MAILT which was formed in late 2019 to examine issues from both the Indigenous and Municipal perspective around the Duty to Consult, Consultation and Notification. This working group has reviewed best practices; worked together to better understand legal obligations; and proposed new solutions for the membership, including the development of the MAILT Friendship Accord to guide the ongoing relationship between MAILT members.


Minutes from the Muskoka Area Indigenous Leadership Table (MAILT) and subcommittees are linked to this page. All minutes posted are FINAL.
Comments made by individuals do not necessarily represent the opinion of the organization represented.

Page last updated: 30 Nov 2022, 11:02 AM