We acknowledge the traditional caretakers of these lands and strive to carry out our important work in solidarity with the many Indigenous communities and individuals living and working across them. As we do this, we must recognize the inherent Indigenous rights and title to the lands that we live on.
The territory upon which the OAN offices are located is within the lands protected by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Haudenosaunee and Anishnaabe and allied nations to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. Today, this land is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island as well as settlers who have come here by choice, by force or otherwise. We are grateful to have the opportunity to work and live on this land.
OAN member organizations are located across what is now called Ontario; a place that predates this name and has remained home to many First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Peoples. It is our responsibility to acknowledge and name the original inhabitants of these lands, and the many distinct groups of First Nation peoples, each with their own language, customs, and territories, including: the Algonquin, Anishinaabe, Mississauga, Ojibway, Cree, Odawa, Pottowatomi, Delaware, the Haudenoshaunee and their nations, and others. Acknowledging this recognizes the significance of these territories for the Indigenous people who continue to live upon them and whose practices, culture, health and spiritualities continue to be tied to the land.
In the spirit and practice of Truth and Reconciliation we, as sector and as settler organizations, must challenge ourselves to disrupt and dismantle colonial structures that have caused immeasurable harm and systemic inequities to Indigenous people. We must seek Truth and to disrupt anti-Indigenous racism in HIV work and beyond; in policing, in the criminal justice system, in health care, the child welfare system, and in our day-to-day lives and relationships.