Indigenous reconciliation

Waterloo is situated on the land traditionally used by the Haudenosaunee, Anishnaabe and Neutral Peoples.

We acknowledge the enduring presence and deep traditional knowledge and philosophies of the Indigenous People with whom we share this land today.

On this page

  1. Response to Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  2. Indigenous communities use of space
  3. O:se Kenhionhata:tie Land Back Camp
  4. National Indigenous Peoples Day

Response to Truth and Reconciliation Commission

In 2015 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) released its findings and 94 Calls to Action to redress the residential schools legacy and advance reconciliation.

The Calls to Action are directed at all levels of government, the private sector and to Canadians as a whole.

City of Waterloo response

In 2019 city council responded to the Calls to Action and adopted a territorial acknowledgement that councillors and staff are encouraged to use at meetings and in written documents. Read the full response here (PDF, starting on page 115).

While offering a territorial acknowledgement is important, we remain mindful it is a starting place on a journey toward reconciliation. It requires that we engage in further learning, conversation and action or we risk simply reciting empty words. 

In August 2020, council approved a report that outlines next steps. These included:

  • the development of a Reconciliation Action Plan
  • the development of a policy to help Indigenous people use public spaces for cultural and ceremonial practices
  • waiving fees for rentals associated with Indigenous events

Read the full report here (PDF, starting on page 29).

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 30, 2021 marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day honours the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.

The City of Waterloo is committed to the important work of learning and unlearning that is required to move towards reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in Canada. While our offices and services remain open, staff will spend time reflecting and learning in recognition of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Indigenous use of public space

We're working with the City of Kitchener to make it easier for Indigenous communities to access public spaces to celebrate their culture and ceremony.

We're waiving rental-related fees for using city spaces for eligible Indigenous cultural and ceremonial events.

Book a space

O:se Kenhionhata:tie Land Back Camp

In 2020 members of the Indigenous community gathered in Victoria Park (in Kitchener) and Waterloo Park. Both places are important to local Indigenous history and traditions.

Known as the O:se Kenhionhata:tie Land Back Camp, the group gathered peacefully to advance reconciliation actions.

For more information please visit the O:se Kenhionhata:tie Land Back Camp Facebook page.

National Indigenous Peoples Day

On June 21 each year the city takes part in National Indigenous Peoples Day. Visit the event webpage for updates on this year's celebration.

The city has been marking the occasion since 2016. We have partnered with artist Luke Swinson who has created and installed an original art piece on the surface of Waterloo Public Square. This artwork serves as a visual reminder of the territory and land on which our city was founded.