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Brock Township seeks Indigenous input following image, sign concerns

DAN CEARNS, The Standard

BROCK: A concern regarding a couple of installations at the Beaverton Harbour has encouraged Brock Council to make more steps towards Indigenous reconciliation.

At a meeting on Monday, November 22nd, Allison Bishop told councillors she was dismayed when she saw a mural and historical information sign at the harbour.

“The sign describes the history of commercial fishing on the lake and briefly mentions that First Nations people used to live in the area and practice spearfishing. What’s of note in the statement, is in the past tense, suggesting Indigenous peoples no longer live in this territory or continue to steward these waters,” she explained.

Ms. Bishop then moved on to her thoughts on the mural.

“It depicts an Indigenous settlement on the left, which is filled with dark brown bodies wearing headdresses and buckskin loincloths. The settlement is filled with teepees and images of buffalo. These images draw heavily on Hollywood stereotypes, specifically of Plains Cree people.”

She added the mural can be seen as “an insulting caricature” of local First Nations peoples.

It was later determined the mural was created in 2008 as a school-led project.

“I think the Township of Brock has a lot of work to do in terms of truth and reconciliation, and properly honouring Indigenous people,” Ward 2 Councillor Claire Doble said.

Ms. Bishop framed this issue as “an opportunity to revisit our shared stories.”

Council later voted to reach out to the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation and the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation for advice and input on the issues raised and to see if there are any other offensive images in the municipality.

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