Memo details additions to Barrie Canada Day celebrations to focus on Indigenous themes, heritage, and culture

The theme of this year’s Canada Day website and activities (were) updated to remove the red and white celebration theme. The updated theme (was) reflective of our shared history, with a focus on education, reconciliation, and reflection 

General committee will deal with a prior “suggestion to cancel Canada Day,” detailed in a June 28 memo from Rebecca James-Reid, executive director of Access Barrie, which was deferred until tonight’s meeting.
The purpose of the memo, she writes, is to inform council that a suggestion to “Cancel Canada Day” was posted on the City’s website, passing the 500-vote threshold. As such, it was classified as under review. Staff also provided information regarding planned Canada Day activities in reaction to the suggestion.
“On Thursday, May 27, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation confirmed that the remains of 215 Indigenous children were found buried in an unmarked mass grave at the Kamloops Residential School. Following this announcement, and subsequent announcements of unmarked mass graves of Indigenous children, multiple municipalities across Canada … announced the cancellation of Canada Day events. This includes at least 14 municipalities in 6 provinces and territories,” it reads.
Council was urged to:
• Direct staff to put on hold any announced plans for Canada Day 2021 and do nothing further with respect to July 1st events this year
• Work with partners as Beausoleil First Nation, Rama First Nation, Georgina Island First Nation, and other local First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples and organizations to explore and implement alternatives to the July 1st ‘celebrations’ to be held virtually and/or in-person, as public health measures allow, by September 30 (Orange Shirt Day)
• Engage in ongoing work with these nations, communities, and organizations to explore and implement alternatives on an annual basis, including but not limited to: local oral histories and cultural celebrations; the history of Residential Schools, the Sixties Scoop, and Millennial Scoop; and any other alternatives recommended
Due to the time-sensitive nature of this suggestion, received days shy of Canada Day, staff detailed actions that were planned related to the suggestion, including:
• As part of the planning process for an appropriate, informative and respectful recognition of National Indigenous Peoples Day, the Special Events Team engaged representatives of Mamaway Wiidokdaadwin Primary Care Team from the Barrie Area Native Advisory Circle. During those discussions, they also discussed recognition of Canada Day
• The team had subsequent discussions with the Mamaway Wiidokdaadwin Primary Care Team to obtain further feedback related to an acknowledgement of Canada Day in a manner that is respectful 
• The theme of this year’s Canada Day website and activities (were) updated to remove the red and white celebration theme. The updated theme (was) reflective of our shared history, with a focus on education, reconciliation, and reflection 
• The City’s Canada Day webpage (provided) extensive resources that celebrate the heritage, diverse cultures, and significant contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. It also includes a link to the Barrie Public Library virtual hub that contains resources and programming include reading recommendations for both adults and children, book chats, family activities and storytime, National Film Board short film screenings, mental health and wellness resources, and more
• Virtual programming for Canada Day includes videos that were recorded to showcase Indigenous heritage and culture for National Indigenous Peoples Day
• The lights at Meridian Place and the Five Points Theatre presented by Pratt Homes & Pratt Development (remained) orange on July 1st in support of residential school survivors, their families and Indigenous communities across Canada
• In partnership with Red Quills and Mamaway Wiidokdaadwin Primary Care Team, a sacred fire at the Spirit Catcher (was) planned for July 1st, subject to health restrictions. 

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