Commitment to Reconciliation
Camp Arowhon acknowledges and honours the Indigenous nations on whose traditional lands the camp operates. Since time immemorial, Anishinaabeg and other Indigenous nations have lived in harmony with the lands in and around what is now known as Algonquin Park, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to care for the site that Camp Arowhon now occupies. To learn more about Algonquin’s Indigenous history see THIS ARTICLE by Algonquin Anishinaabekwe woman Christine Luckasavitch who comes to camp every year to share her stories and wisdom.
We understand that Indigenous peoples have a unique and abiding relationship to the land, and that, as visitors to it, we must demonstrate universal respect and stewardship of it. We recognize that with the imposition of the colonial state by the British Crown and various governments of Canada, Indigenous people have suffered great injustice, including loss of land, children, languages, culture, heritage, and community. We also recognize that much of the camping industry in Ontario and beyond is built on Indigenous traditions, values, and symbols, many of which were taken without permission or consultation from the people to whom they belong. We know that Indigenous people have demonstrated great resilience but continue to experience disadvantage, disrespect, and lack of understanding in their daily lives, which must be addressed for reconciliation to be advanced.
We commit to opening our eyes, ears, hearts, and minds to learn how to be a part of the reconciliation process. We are working with Indigenous people and experienced allies to develop an action plan to increase the cultural competency of our campers and staff, remove problematic symbols and practices, demonstrate appropriate respect for Indigenous people, and create a more inclusive environment for all.
Camp Arowhon is committed to moving beyond a Statement of Reconciliation to the development and implementation of an Action Plan which will be reviewed regularly.
We commit ourselves to working with Indigenous communities to implement practical measures which will:
- Value the knowledge and experience of Indigenous people past and present in all aspects of camp
- Develop an organizational culture which values and respects Indigenous people and culture
- Promote respect for Indigenous people and acceptance of cultural diversity within the camp and the wider community by developing cultural competence of staff and campers
- Ensure that all relationships involving Indigenous camp staff, campers, and community members are based on the principles of social justice and equal partnership
- Ensure that knowledge of the experiences and culture of Indigenous people is incorporated into our teaching, learning, and community engagement
- Commit the camp to increasing Indigenous participation at all levels
- Increase access and achievement by Indigenous people in camping through a range of initiatives
Campers and staff are invited to participate in our reconciliation process by attending Reconciliation Committee meetings, developing and presenting personalized land acknowledgements, learning local Indigenous natural history and ecology, and practicing gratitude and stewardship of the land.