Indigenous History


Municipal Office

395 Mulock Drive P.O. Box 328 Station Main, Newmarket, Ontario
L3Y 4X7

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Land Acknowledgement

The Town of Newmarket acknowledges that we are situated on the traditional territories of the Wendat, the Haudenosaunee, and the Anishinaabe peoples, whose presence here continues to this day. We honour and acknowledge this land and its people. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action (numbers 62-63) speak to the significance of education as the key to reconciliation.

Newmarket Honours Truth and Reconciliation Day on September 30

The Town of Newmarket, in collaboration with our Indigenous partners are inviting the community to come together to remember and reflect, as we recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, 2023.

"September 30 will be a tremendously meaningful and significant day in Newmarket and throughout our country," says Newmarket Mayor John Taylor. "On this day, and everyday, we need to remember and reflect on our past - the very painful and tragic history of the residential school system and the unimaginable impact this has had on Indigenous communities. We need to continue to come together to do more, do better and to create a path forward with Truth and Reconciliation leading the way."

National Truth and Reconciliaton Day - September 30, 2023

What: The Town of Newmarket is hosting an event for the community to come together in reflection as we honour the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day that honours the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. 

The Town of Newmarket welcomes Kim Wheatley, Shawanaga First Nation Reserve Anishinaabe Ojibway grandmother who carries the Spirit name Head or Leader of the Fireflower and is Turtle clan, to offer words, perform hand drumming and prayers. Everyone is encouraged to attend with reflection and a commitment to reconciliation. Attendees are welcome to wear an orange shirt to honour the children who survived Residential Schools and remember those who did not. 

When: Saturday, September 30, 2023 at 1 p.m.

Where: Fairy Lake Park (Ampitheatre), 520 Water Street. Parking is available on site at Fairy Lake Park. The ampitheatre can also be accessed by walking along the Tom Taylor Trail and parking nearby at the Municipal Offices (395 Mulock Drive) or along Cane Parkway. 

September 30 is also Orange Shirt Day, an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day that honours the children who survived Residential Schools and remembers those who did not. This day relates to the experience of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation, on her first day of school, where she arrived dressed in a new orange shirt, which was taken from her. It is now a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations. Please remember to wear orange on September 30 to raise awareness of the very tragic legacy of residential schools, to honour the thousands of children whose lives were lost, and those who survived but continue to experience the trauma to this day.

The Town of Newmarket remains strongly committed to our journey of Truth and Reconciliation. In 2020, Newmarket installed a permanent land acknowledgement plaque at the Municipal Offices to demonstrate appreciation to all Indigenous people for sharing the Newmarket lands with the community. The land acknowledgement plaque serves as a permanent reminder that Newmarket sits on the traditional territories of the Wendat, Haudeno-saunee and the Anishinaabe peoples and treaty land of the Williams Treaties First Nations and other Indigenous people.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action (numbers 62-63) speak to the significance of education as the key to reconciliation.

Learn more here:

Learn more about Bill-C15 here: 

Learn more about the treaties, treaty relationships and treaty rights that shape Ontario. Includes lesson plans and guides:

Read a copy of the Chippewa-Williams-Treaty, signed at Georgina Island on October 31, 1923 Click here to check it out Page 2 outlines a surrender of their rights to harvesting (fishing, hunting and trapping rights).

Brief History of Residential Schools


1879 Nicholas Flood Davin's report, Industrial Schools for Indians and Half-Breeds, advised the Federal Government to create residential schools for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children.

 "If anything is to be done with the Indian, we must catch him very young. The children must be kept constantly within the circle of civilized conditions." 

Read a full copy of the original "Confidential" report here. Report on industrial schools for Indians and ha... - title page - Canadiana Online


1883 Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald authorized the creation of the residential school system.

Learn more here: 

Residential schools operated throughout Canada with the exception of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. Click below for the map of Residential Schools in Canada. 2039_T&R_map_nov2011_final.pdf (


1907 Dr. Peter Henderson Bryce, Chief Medical Officer for Canada's Department of the Interior and Indian Affairs (1904–21), revealed that Indigenous children were dying at alarming rates. Learn more here:


Duncan Campbell Scott, Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs in Canada. "I want to get rid of the Indian problem. I do not think as a matter of fact, that the country ought to continuously protect a class of people who are able to stand alone... Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic and there is no Indian question, and no Indian Department."

duncan_campbell_scott_information_sheet_final.pdf (

1920 Amendments to the Indian Act made it mandatory for every Indian child between the ages of seven and sixteen years, to attend residential schools. View a timeline of Residential Schools here. Residential Schools | The Canadian Encyclopedia

1922 The Story of a National Crime was published by Peter Henderson Bryce. View a copy of the original report here. AppJusIndCan1922.pdf (

1933 The Indian Act legally appointed RCMP officers as "truant officers" to enforce attendance and return truant children to residential schools. View historical timeline here. Historical events in RCMP-Indigenous relations | Royal Canadian Mounted Police (

1974 The Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) was founded with the collective goal to enhance, promote and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations, Métis and Inuit women. NWAC is an aggregate of thirteen Native women's organizations from across Canada, and was incorporated as a non-profit organization.

The Native Women's Association of Canada Residential School Fact Sheet includes an additional timeline of residential schools and has identified 38 intergenerational impacts on Aboriginal people who attended the residential school system.   Residential-Schools-Fact-Sheet.pdf (

Mid-1980 - Early 1990
Mid-1980 - Early 1990 Survivors across Canada started to gather to form class action lawsuits to seek compensation for the abuses they experienced at residential schools. The Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement | Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre (
1996 Gordon's Residential School in Saskatchewan was the last federally run residential school to close.  Learn more here: Gordon's Indian Residential School | Punnichy – Shattering the Silence (
2006 The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement was issued. DRAFT – January 3, 2006 (

2008 The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established as one of the mandated aspects of The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

Learn more here:


2008  The Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, made a Statement of Apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools, on behalf of the Government of Canada. Read the statement of apology here. Statement of apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools (


2015  Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, issued the following statement after receiving the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation CommissionStatement by Prime Minister on release of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission | Prime Minister of Canada (

Progress on Realizing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action2020_TRC-Report-Card_ENG.pdf

June 2021

June 2021 Read the public statement from the Coalition for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples, regarding Canada being one-step away from passing legislation to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples9+June+2021+Coalition+update+on+C15+.pdf (


June 2021 Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde welcomed the passing of a federal bill to advance the implementation of the United Nations' Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  FEDERAL LEGISLATION TO IMPLEMENT UN DECLARATION MAJOR STEP TOWARD ADDRESSING RACISM AND DISCRIMINATION IN CANADA | Assembly of First Nations (


June 2021  A Joint Statement was issued by Ministers Lametti and Bennett on the Senate Passing Bill C-15, An Act Respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous PeoplesJoint Statement by Minister Lametti and Minister Bennett on the Senate Passing Bill C-15, An Act Respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples - 

Stories of Residential School Survivors

Learn more here

National Indigenous History Month

June is National Indigenous History Month                                                                  

National Indigenous History Month is a time for us to honour the history, heritage and diversity of Indigenous peoples in Canada. It's also a chance for us to learn about Indigenous communities today.  

Visit the Elman W. Campbell Museum - Tuesday to Saturday 

Celebrate the unique histories, cultures, and contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people. See our collection of Indigenous artifacts, Metis reproduction artifacts and Inuit sculptures. 

Visit us in person at the museum and learn more about Indigenous history at

Where can I learn more about Indigenous people in Canada?

You may have learned about Indigenous people in Canada in school. If you haven't yet, Indigenous people in Canada include First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI). With so much to learn — from traditions to art — where do you start? Here's a list of some amazing resources, including books, games and activities for families and children.

Ways to Celebrate:

The Royal Proclamation of 1763

The Royal Proclamation is an important piece of British legislation that explicitly states that Indigenous title has existed and continues to exist, and that all land would be considered Aboriginal land until ceded by treaty. 

  • It is referenced in section 25 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which became law in 1982.
  • The Proclamation is still valid today, as no legislation specifically overrides or repeals it. Learn more here: Royal Proclamation, 1763
  • Section 35 of the 1982 Constitution Act was written to reaffirm the rights of Indigenous peoples. Learn more here: Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982

View a full copy of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms  here: Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms


TRIGGER WARNING: Difficult Subject Matter

24 Hour National Survivors Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419.


Canada's first Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald said in 1887, after the residential schools began to operate, "The great aim of our legislation has been to do away with the tribal system and assimilate the Indian people in all respects with the other inhabitants of the Dominion as speedily as they are fit to change."

How well do you know the Indian Act? Learn more here: Indian Act | The Canadian Encyclopedia

The residential school system operated in Canada between the Government of Canada and the Church.  More than 150,000 children were sent away to these schools. View the timeline of the Kamloops Residential School and a series of events and dates that are significant to the development, experience and legacy of residential schools in Canada. 

Timeline here IRSHDC (