Our Current Commitment to the Land and Reconciliation

We worked on this organizational commitment and land acknowledgment with a local Indigenous consultant and our staff, board and volunteers. It was co-created over a few months and reflects our understanding of how we need to work towards reconciliation in our work.
We would like to acknowledge the history of the traditional territory and honour the longstanding relationships of the three local First Nations of this land and place in Southwestern Ontario. The Attawandaron (Neutral) peoples once settled this region alongside the Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples, and used this land as their traditional hunting grounds. The three longstanding Indigenous groups of this geographical region are the Anishinaabeg, The Haudenosaunee and the Lenaapeewak.

This land was originally occupied for its majestic forests and flowing rivers. Settlers cut down forests and damned rivers, altering the natural environment and disconnecting people from the environment and their culture. The local river which is known now as the Thames River originally went by the names Deshkan Ziibi or Asskunessiipi both which roughly translate to Antler River. This river supports life - plants, animals and humans - who all use nibi (water) to thrive. As we protect the nibi, we protect life and at the Network we want to see the local people, animals and plants thrive in a green and resilient community. 

We would also like to recognize the three First Nations communities downriver Deshkan Ziibi (Thames River/Antler River): Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, Oneida Nation of the Thames and Munsee-Delaware Nation. We strive to work with these communities to continue to listen, learn and restore the natural area back to its original beauty, support environmental initiatives and help our communities become climate resilient. 

The London Environmental Network recognizes the inequities connected to colonization and commits to working towards creating a community and city that is resilient, vibrant and just.

Learn About the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation 

1.png 2.png  3.png  4.png

The London Environmental Network recognizes the inequities connected to colonization and commits to working towards creating a community and city that is resilient, vibrant and just. We are always learning and unlearning through this process and appreciate any feedback the community has to improve our support of local Indigenous environmental projects.

We were called by a local Indigenous person asking what we were actually doing to achieve our commitments, and we wanted to share projects we are currently working on. This is only the start, and our team is committed to supporting land back and local Indigenous projects.

To achieve this commitment, we have been working towards educating our staff and network, working on projects with local Indigenous communities and leaders and working towards decolonizing our programs and operations. Please see below for a variety of ways we are working on this. We are always open to working on environmental projects and learning ways to decolonize our work - please reach out to Marianne Griffith, our Executive Director to chat about our projects ([email protected])

Working with Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, Environment, Treaties and Lands Department
  • Registered three buildings with the Non-Profit Resiliency Program, we are actively working with them through the walkthroughs and reports. We have also hosted tree plantings at these locations.  

  • The Environment, Treaties, and Lands Department at COTTFN is a member of the Environmental Network and receives support through our programing.

Communications, Events & Advocacy
  • Encouraging at the municipal level the acceleration of separating the combined sewers (which results in raw sewage being dumped into the river in extreme weather events) and investment in wastewater treatment facilities to city staff

  • We have a podcast series with 2 episodes about The River, speakers including Emma Young and Brandon Graham from the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation’s Treaty and Wahsayzee Deleary (Anishinaabe), Oneida Nation, Indigenous Water Educator. 

  • Blog Series on Environmentalism in Action, including a blog about clean water rights and land rights.

  • Hosting various events featuring Indigenous knowledge keepers, such as the Green & Just Recovery Townhall with Grand Chief Joel Abrams, Sustainable Building Retrofits with Mohawk Seedkeeper Terri-Lynn Brant among others.

  • Organized the River Talks: A Gathering at Deshkan Ziibi conference in 2018, which combined Indigenous knowledge, science-based environmental solutions, and arts

  • Share information about River Water Quality on our website.

  • Tour and celebration of Wanda Stacey’s home at COTTFN (CERRC - Oct 19th, 2022) 

  • Hosted home retrofits webinar series to educate and assist other residents

Green Economy London
  • COTTFN are members of the Green Economy London program

  • N’Amerind Friendship Centre is a member of the Green Economy London program and received a sustainability walkthrough of their buildings to identify cost reduction and energy efficiency opportunities and other sustainability projects presented in a sustainability report

Other Projects
  • Worked with Amanda Kennedy on the Tsi’thotuhutsya:te (The Creators Land) Community Healing Garden project in London, dropping off seed kits to folks willing to grow seedlings for a community garden at Oneida, and we run a harvesting session for one of the healing gardens

  • Worked with the Terri-Lynn Brant, the Mohawk Seedkeeper of the Six Nations in Caledonia to help supply the Mohawk Seedkeeper School Support project with supplies

  • Donated and promoted the GoFundMe for to the Anishinaabe Round House project at Chippewa of the Thames First Nation

  • Supported an incubator project called Alumiikun Waxkaniim meaning Growing Seeds in the Lunaape language. The Growing Seeds project is an ancestral and organic seed garden, led by Sam Whiteye (Xúwii Shoopéekal Enterprises).

Internal Education & Operations
  • Honoured every National Day of Truth and Reconciliation (September 30th) by offering paid time for staff to learn about colonization and Indigenous culture, and spend time reflecting on what we can change in our organization to decolonize our work

  • Staff completed the course on Indigenous Canada

  • Staff read various books by Indigenous authors for a monthly book club and discussed including Braiding Sweetgrass and Speaking My Truth: Reflections on Reconciliation and Residential School

  • Staff have been working on an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion strategy which includes working with Indigenous groups on environmental projects and consulting with local Indigenous communities on programming and environmental topics.