THPS – Volunteer appreciation Picnic

Donna Powless called us together for a THPS volunteer appreciation picnic at Bear Mound. It has been a while since THPS had a gathering so it was good to see everyone and catch up. As a group we are all still committed to protecting sacred sites in High Park and elsewhere in Toronto. We will be attending High Park Citizen’s Council meetings again and producing a pamphlet for High Park visitors on Indigenous History.

We feasted on cornbread and fruit salad. Marlene Bluebird Stickings and Joce Tremblay brought Ojibway tobacco plants seeded and grown at the Stop’s urban agriculture program to gift to THPS members, as well as to plant around Bear and Serpent Mound.


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Defending Sacred Sites

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Treaties and Agreements Relevant to Tkaronto and beyond

Two Row Wampum Treaty

Nanfan Treaty of 1701

Map of Peace Treaty of 1701 Sig

English Version Peace of Montreal

English Version of Great Peace2

English Version of Great Peace3

English Version of Great Peace 4

English Version of Great Peace 5

Royal Proclamation of 1763

Gunshot Treaty 1792

Gunshot Treaty from Bay of Quinte to the County of York


United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report: Calls to Action

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Taiaiako’n Historical Preservation Society back to work!

After the passing of  David Redwolf (Rastia’ta’non:ha) who was a central force in the work of the THPS it has taken some time to for the THPS to regroup and be publicly active. Much of the activity is to monitor the mounds, to keep them clean of litter and watch for erosion as well as having ceremony for the ancestors. However, the THPS is gearing up for a new phase. We are working on a pamphlet which outlines the Indigenous history of the park and area, hoping to continue with the archeological work to have the mounds recognized in a good way, as well as manifesting new future projects. The website will also be re-activated as David had collected many files containing knowledge of mounds and their builders which we will continue to archive on the site.

Snake Mound New Fence Looking North July 10, 2011

Snake Mound New Fence Looking North July 10, 2011

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Taiaiako’n – bones of 600 year old Seneca woman found

While many sources claim that the village of Taiaiako’n was established as an Iroquoian village in the late 1600’s (ironically just when the Europeans arrived), there is much evidence that conflicts with this claim. The City of Toronto website states that the first inhabitants moved into the Toronto area thousands of years ago from the South and started farming corn, beans and squash around 1,400 years ago. These were Iroquoian peoples.

In 2005 there was an article in the Globe and Mail that outlines the deep history of Iroquoian peoples in the southern Ontario and Toronto area.

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Burials Recognized in British Columbia

B.C. Government Cancels Housing Project at Historic Musqueam Village and Burial Site

After standing strong for more than 140 days, the Musqueam People are celebrating a decision by the B.C Government to cancel a controversial 5-story condominium project at cusnaum, an historic village and burial site located in the heart of Musqueam’s Traditional, unceded Territory.

“Musqueam is pleased that the proposed development is no longer authorized by the permits issued by the Province and that the ancestral remains are to be restored to their original condition,” the Musqueam said, in a September 28 Press Release. “Their disturbance caused great anguish to the community and the proposed development would have desecrated an ancient and sacred burial place and destroyed a site precious to the Musqueam as representing one of the few links to our heritage extending back thousands of years. It would also have destroyed a Canadian historic site and a heritage site that should be protected for all British Colombians.”

For updates and more information, visit the facebook page Protect the village and midden site of cusnaum (Marpole).

Read full story here:
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Dr. Peggy J. Blair writes about the legalities of burial ground protection

The Non-Protection Of Canadian Aboriginal Heritage (Burial Sites And Artifacts) by Dr. Peggy J. Blair

Dr. Peggy J. Blair (2005) gives and excellent outline of the history of how scientists have felt entitled to desecrate Indigenous peoples burial sites. Her article gives a legal overview in the Canadian context speaking about many sites which have been destroyed due to archaeology and development. This article was written for the Scow Institute: The Scow Institute is a non-partisan organization dedicated to addressing public misconceptions about issues relating to Aboriginal people and Aboriginal rights. For more information, please visit our website at


“For several centuries, Western scientists have disinterred Aboriginal human remains and cultural items for collection and study. Often, the everyday and sacred objects found in burial grounds have been retained in private collections and museums rather than being returned to or re-buried in their community of origin. Under current federal legislation, unless those holding such items agree to return them voluntarily, little can be done.” (1)

“To Aboriginal peoples, burial grounds are not archaeological sites, and human bones are neither artifacts to be displayed in museums, nor scientific resources to be mined; the remains of ancient ancestors are to be accorded proper respect. For many Aboriginal cultures, the belief that a spiritual ‘essence’ remains bound to the body after death means that remains should never be disturbed. The Anishnabe of south-western Ontario traditionally believed that humans consisted of three parts – a corporeal body that decayed and disappeared after death, a soul that traveled to the land of the souls, and a shadow spirit that roamed around the earth but generally remained with the grave. According to these beliefs, a disturbance of the grave disturbs the shadow spirit.” (3)

“In Ontario, both the Cemeteries Act and the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act require that once an ‘unapproved Aboriginal cemetery’ is discovered, negotiations must take place resulting in a site disposition agreement.27 Section 68 of the Ontario Cemeteries Act prohibits the disturbance of a ‘burial site or artifacts associated with the human remains’ except on the instruction of the coroner or under one of these agreements.” (6)

“Litigation to prevent development has generally been unsuccessful. For some Aboriginal peoples, their inability to protect burial sites has resulted in blockades and occupations, even violence. As the Royal Commission has pointed out, Aboriginal groups often have little influence in deciding priorities for development or preservation. As the commission concluded, ‘[a]ll too often, Aboriginal peoples’ desire or need for access to traditional sites for traditional activities has led to conflict with officials’.41 A new ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada calls on provincial governments as well as the federal government to consult with Aboriginal peoples and to accommodate their rights. The impact of this direction from the Supreme Court on Aboriginal burial grounds is still not known.” (10)

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