We acknowledge and honour the Anishinaabe, Haudenoshaunee and Lenape people of southwestern Ontario as the traditional owners and custodians of the lands and waterways where Fanshawe College is located.
Fanshawe celebrates the continuous living cultures of original inhabitants of Canada and acknowledges the important contributions Indigenous people have and continue to make in Canadian society. The College respects and acknowledges our Indigenous students, staff, Elders and Indigenous visitors who come from many nations.
A shared journey
As neighbours, the Deshkaan Ziibing Anishinaabeg, Onyota’a:ka and Minisink Nations have much in common: a deep respect for the land and its riches, a commitment to caring for the environment that sustains us, a rich oral history and an inherent ability to create beauty from nature.
In many ways, though, our three cultures are very different. Our journey to our traditional territories, the environment on which each has depended for sustenance has shaped life - our economies, how we communicate, govern, practice ceremony, celebrate and take shelter - in distinct ways in each Nation. While we share fundamental values, our communities are diverse.
A deep respect for the land and its many gifts, centuries-old traditions, giving lovingly to family and community, ancient craftsmanship, beautiful art, these our peoples share. We also share a long and rich oral history. Our relationship to the land and to each other as neighbours is recorded through oral history and pre-confederation treaties such as the Dish With One Spoon Belt and the Anishinaabe-Haudenoshaunee Friendship Belt.
Deshkaan Ziibing Anishinaabeg
Chippewas of the Thames
The Deshkaan Ziibing Anishinaabeg migrated to the Great Lakes from the northeastern region of North America. The majority of Southwestern Ontario is our modern traditional territory. We call ourselves the Anishinabek, which means original people. Together with the Odawa (Ottawa) and Bodaywadami (Pottawatomi) we form the Three Fires Confederacy. Using Midewiwin scrolls, Potawatomi elder Shup-Shewana dated the formation of the Three Fires Confederacy to 796 AD at Michilimackinac.
Chippewas of the Thames First Nation is the single signatory to the Longwoods Treaty of 1822. In addition, Chippewas of the Thames is signatory with other First Nations to the following treaties: London Township, 1796; Sombra, 1796; Treaty #29, 1827; and Mckee, 1790. It is important to know that all these treaties were signed before Canada was formed as a country in 1867.
Today the Chippewas of the Thames has close to 3,800 members and is growing, with 60 percent of the population under the age of 25. We are located on the north bank of Deshkaan Ziibing (River Thames) approximately 20 km southwest of London.
Our land base comprises 3,331 hectares of unceded land in southwestern Ontario. We are a forward thinking nation with a strong grasp of our traditional values. Through culture, heritage and continued education we are working towards a better future - towards a self-governing First Nation that thrives socially, culturally, spiritually and economically.
Oneida Nation of the Thames
The Onyota’a:ka, the People of the Standing Stone, a nation of the Lotinosho:ni Confederacy, moved from our ancestral homelands, what is now known as New York state in 1840 to our present location along the Thames River. Oneida Nation of the Thames holds a unique position among First Nation communities in Canada, in that we purchased our lands and arrived as settlers from New York state.
Our ancestors were called the Ukwehunwi - Original People. The Oneida Nation of the Thames is one of the original five tribes of the Lotinosho:ni (Iroquois) Confederacy (Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk) which formed around 1450.
Today’s Oneida Nation of the Thames is a flourishing and vibrant Iroquois community. The Oneida Nation of the Thames, like other Iroqouis Nations is a sovereign Independent Nation with its own traditional hereditary and contemporary system of governance and law.
Established in 1840, as the “Oneida Settlement” the evolution of this great Nation transforming from an agricultural society into a modern and versatile Iroquois community.
The Oneida Nation of the Thames is home to 2,159 residents and has a total membership of 6,108. The Oneida Nation borders lush and fertile agricultural lands and is nestled along the eastern shore of the Thames River 30 kilometers south of the city of London. The Oneida Nation of the Thames is close neighbour and friend to the Chippewas of the Thames and Munsee-Delaware Nation, respectively.
Munsee Delaware Nation
The Minisink (Munsee), the people of Stony Country, the northernmost of the Lenni Lenape (original man), were forced out of the homelands (eastern Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey, and southeast New York) by early settlers. In the 1700s, the community secured their current location in Ontario.
Artifacts found in the Minisink area show that the Munsee Delaware were part of an Indigenous trading network that extended north to Labrador, west to the Mississippi, and south to the Gulf of Mexico.
Today the Munsee Delaware Nation covers 1054 hectares, measuring roughly three square kilometers. Our Nation has a registered population of 547 today, with 170 individuals living in the community. We are 25 kilometers southwest of London, on the north shore of the Thames River.
The Munsee Delaware Nation is making great strides in developing a sustainable and self sufficient economy once again. Where once the Munsee Delaware Nation developed an extensive trade network with neighbouring communities and Nations, today we are creating jobs for our youth by tapping into the emerging green economy. One such initiative is the Munsee Tree Corporation, a tree farm which will generate carbon credits and supply the emerging bio-mass industry. Another is the recently announced First Nations Foresty training program, which will train First Nations students from across Ontario for highly skilled jobs in the sustainable forestry industries. Together with industry and First Nation partners, we are working towards securing a prosperous future that will also benefit the environment.
A diverse Indigenous student community
Canada's constitution recognizes three categories of Indigenous people: First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. These categories break down into further categories. There are 634 First Nations in Canada, comprising 10 language families, which in turn represent 50 or more languages. Inuit people carry an additional language family that includes two languages. Métis people have developed at least one language – Michif – but there are likely additional languages with hybrid origins amongst Métis groups in Canada. Fifty-three languages, at minimum, represent 53 different ways of perceiving, interpreting, describing, and interacting with the world and thus 53 different evolutions of beliefs, customs, practices, and protocols.
Even this, however, does not adequately portray the diversity of Indigenous people in Canada. Indigenous people, as individuals, families, communities, and members of Indigenous Nations, can be sorted according to the depth at which traditional ways are still known and practised; places of residence; personal and family history; education and other social strata and mobility subcategories; degrees of mixed bloodedness; degrees of acculturation; and many other ways of sorting, which include, but are not limited to, gender and gender identity, political perspective, physical and mental ability, and levels of physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual wellness.
- Janice Simcoe, Anishinaabe, Chippewas of Rama First Nation
Original Peoples Centre
Anishinaabek - Ukwehunwi - Lenni Lenape
The Original Peoples Centre is the centre for Indigenous student life with the Institute of Indigenous Learning. The Original Peoples Centre provides academic, social, cultural, and recreational activities as well as a comfortable atmosphere for Indigenous students.
The Original Peoples Centre opened its doors in 1996 and has grown steadily since then. During the first year, there were 72 students registered with the Centre and that number has continued to grow. During this past year, we had over 1400 students and graduates in over 60 diverse programs.
We welcome all students who are descended from the orginal peoples of Turtle Island (North America). You will find supportive services and programs at the Original Peoples Centre. Whether it is the Shkabawis Experiential Learning program, Summer College, Culture Camp, Academic supports, Transition Advisors, Counselling or the numerous social activities scheduled throughout the year, you are always welcome. Our home is your home away from home.