Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner brought his "Summer Days" tour to Milton Thursday August 19, 2021. The Urban Indigenous Centre and Grandmother's Voice hosted the party leader for an hour-long ceremony that reminded guests to honor ancestors, and reconnect with the land.
"I'm calling on the Ontario government to make land, and space available for healing gardens, and sacred fires. For spaces where Indigenous people to come together, and for non-Indigenous people so that we can learn and heal our relationships with each other as we talk about the truth of the past, and as we reconcile," Schreiner said. The Urban Indigenous Centre includes a Healing garden with Native plants built in the shape of long house. "I was so inspired by their vision to create a permanent space for Indigenous People in Halton to have a place to meet, to gather to talk, and to heal."
Schreiner held a 30-minunte press conference where he asked the Ford government for changes to Ontario's education curriculum to allow for Indigenous involvement. "I'm calling on the Ford government to restore funding to the Indigenous curriculum so that Indigenous leaders can lead the changes to the curriculum, so that all children and peoples in Ontario learn the truth about our past," Schreiner said.
This includes the search for remains at 15 Indian Residential Schools in Ontario. The province announced in June, they would make $10 million available to help with locating, and identifying remains. Earlier this month the governments of Ontario, and Canada pledged approximately $2.9 million to help the Wuzhushk Onigum Nation over the next three years to help find, and identify remains related to St. Mary's Indian Residential School in Kenora. The federal government would contribute $2,898,430 over the next three years (2021-2024), while the province will $400,000 over the next two years.
Schreiner calls on Federal Leaders for more Commitments to Indigenous People
Schreiner would like to see more discussion on Indigenous issues this campaign. In 2015 the federal government promised to eliminate boil water advisories on reserves, and has failed to do so. He'd like to see commitments on housing affordability "The number of Indigenous People, particularly urban Indigenous Peoples who are homeless, or don't have an affordable place to call home. We need all levels of government to be working on that," Schreiner said.
His party has committed to making 22,000 Indigenous owned or led housing spaces. "We would like to see that happen across the country, and we absolutely need the federal government to be partners in making that happen," he added. He would also like to see that decisions made on a land use, and resource development made in a "fair and equitable way."
Laura Steiner, Local Journalism Initiative, The Milton Reporter
Laura Steiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Milton Reporter, Milton Reporter