On October 29, 2016, amid an afternoon of pomp, pageantry and ceremony, all six Mississauga Nations came together at the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation (MNCFN) Community Centre to sign a historic relationship Accord in the presence of a full house of dignitaries, councillors, media, and other welcomed guests.
The historic signing was a gala event, punctuating a new beginning between the six Mississauga First Nations. The Accord is a formal document that spells out the purpose and guiding principles for the ongoing process of dialogue and relationship-building between the First Nations, as well as directions on the decision-making process.
Set amidst a backdrop of Eagle Staffs and each First Nation’s flag, the six Mississauga chiefs signed the accord Saturday and ushered in a new era of cooperation and unity between the First Nations. The signing began with a drum opening by the Manitou Mkwa Spirit Bear Singers, followed by an opening by pipe carrier Mike Bisson from Mississauga 8.
All six Mississauga chiefs and dignitaries made inspirational speeches. Those in attendance included: Brant MPP Dave Levac; Brantford-Brant MP Phil McColeman; Scarborough-Rouge Park MP Gary Anandasangaree; Toronto City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam; and German Consul General Peter Fahrenholtz.
The signing was followed by a traditional closing and afterward, guests mingled for a pleasant afternoon of discussions, networking and lighthearted banter while nibbling on delicious delicacies prepared by renowned caterer, Nish Dish, based in Toronto. Alderville First Nation Chief James Marsden said the Accord signing “makes us all stronger and that’s why we’re all here today, to push our missions forward and protect our land and waterways.”
Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation Chief Kelly LaRocca called it “an historic occasion to rise above the divisiveness of the Indian Act and re-assert our nationhood as a group.” Mississauga #8 First Nation Chief Reg Niganobe said: “It’s a day of historic reckoning for us as Mississauga people. We’re reaffirming that relationship and forming back together once again.”
Curve Lake First Nation Chief Phyllis Williams said, “For us, the Mississauga Nation, it brings a sense of unity, sharing and certainly nurturing what we have in each of our communities. As a collective, I feel, that there’s promise and hope and it solidifies the relationship that we have, and have had.”
MNCFN Chief R. Stacey Laforme read aloud a poem he wrote about Mississauga Nationhood: “The Mississauga Nations – it is not a means to an end. It is our means to the future. Nationhood is about who we are…it is a recognition that we were, and are, a nation unto ourselves. Our nation stems from our shared history, culture, language and values. We will walk together. We will rejuvenate our Nation.”
Hiawatha First Nation Chief Greg Cowie said: “We’ve talked about this for a long time,” adding that he didn’t like to talk about each First Nation as separate. “I think it’s all Mississauga territory. We really need to get by our individualism, and look at it as a nation and nation territory. I think we’ll go a lot farther when we work together. The Accord states that the Mississauga Peoples constitute a Nation by “virtue of our creation, our shared histories, language, culture, values, traditions, beliefs and aspirations.”
The purpose of the Accord is to “modernize, elaborate and strengthen our relations based on respect, responsibility and renewal.”