Truth and Reconciliation
Oakville Public Library is situated on Treaty #14 and Treaty #22 lands and territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and the traditional territory of the Huron-Wendat and the Haudenosaunee. Oakville is currently home to many different First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
Regardless of where we come from, we are all interconnected through the land that we live on, water that we use and air that we breathe.
We are committed to a continuous learning journey in allyship. We seek to elevate Indigenous voices and lived experience to cultivate reconciliation in Oakville.
The Path Ahead
We encourage everyone to continue their reconciliation journey by visiting the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR). The NCTR is the permanent home for all statements, documents, and other materials gathered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Discover the First Nations, Métis and Inuit collections at Oakville Public Library, view The Oakville Heritage Moment: The Mississaugas of the Credit. First Nations, Métis and Inuit programs and services that serve Oakville can also be found on the Halton Community Services Directory.
Mother Bear Medicine Mural
“Mother Bear Medicine”
Nooshay Mukwaa Maashkikii -- Northern Woodland Anishinawbe Dialect
Located at Central Branch View address
Mother bear is the medicine teacher and her role is to help her little ones learn how to climb. The bear: Makwa is the closest relative to the Anishnabek (as in, the two-leggeds).
The mural represents humans who gather to learn at the library through the medicine of the trees, and plants who are our original teachers. In the mural, the birch, or Wiigwaas, is the featured medicine tree that the Bears are gathered around. Specifically known as the paper birch, this represents the sacred teachings that come from the medicine of this tree, and their connection to literacy. The Wiigwaas tree gave the Anishinaabe people many gifts for all their needs on this land such as its paperbark to write on and create the sacred scrolls, as well as the creation of the birch bark biting artwork! The Anishinabe also made birch bark into water-resistant carry pails for maple syrup and food storage containers.
The birch bark was also used to build homes called Wigwams, as well as canoes to navigate the water systems allowing for fishing, collecting of mamoonin (wild rice which grows on the water), and travel through the trading routes. The Wiigwaas carries a medicine called Chaga that forms like a fungus on its fallen branches, which can be made into a tea and is extremely high in antioxidants that help purify our blood. Much like the sugar maple tree Ininaatig that you can see above the waterfall’s cave, the birch tree can also be tapped for its syrup in the early spring. The Chaga and the birch bark are also excellent fire starter materials. Additionally, a Shagbark hickory, Mitigwaabaak on the far left of the mural, is easily recognized by its shaggy bark. The white spirit bear is sacred to the Anishnabek and reminds us that every being has a gift that we can share with the community, no matter how different. We all have a place in the circle.
The Red Tailed Hawk: Gegek flying high above the land, is one of the messengers to Great Spirit, Gitchi Manitou. Hawk will appear to tell you you’re headed the right way. Below is the weeping willow, close to the water where willows grow best. The plant imagery is specifically selected as teachings that are part of Treaty 22
and endemic to the river and environment of 16 Mile Creek and the land that Oakville, including Oakville Public Library, reside on. This is the territory of Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation Treaty 22.
Photo credit: Mother Bear Medicine – Nooshay Mukwaa Maashkikii (Northern Woodland Anishinawbe Dialect)
By Johl Whiteduck Ringuette, Ren Lonechild and Angela Aula of Red Urban Nation Artist Collective
As seen at Central Branch, Oakville Public Library