The Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation has an exciting three-day Historical Gathering coming up from February 15-17, 2017, with an array of noted historians, scholars and legal experts slated to share their knowledge about MNCFN.
“It’s going to be really good this year because we have a speaker coming in, Peter H. Russell, and he’s wrote stuff about the constitution, and we have (Justice) Harry LaForme, who also knows stuff about the constitution, and they’re going to be talking (about Confederation),” says Councillor Margaret Sault, who sits on the Historical Gathering Planning Committee.
LaForme, a prominent judge and a member of MNCFN, is the first Indigenous person ever to be appointed to an appellate court in Canada. He spent much of his practice focusing on the constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Historian Donald Smith is also slated to speak, as well as lawyer Kim Fullerton, who provides legal advice to MNCFN Council.
Because Canada is celebrating its 150th anniversary of Confederation this year, the three-day conference will look at the history of the country pre-Confederation, during Confederation, and post-Confederation and the integral role the Mississauga people played during Confederation.
The annual Historical Gathering stems from research MNCFN was conducting when negotiating the Toronto Purchase land claim settlement. The community brought in speakers to detail MNCFN history while negotiating the trust, and it’s been an annual event ever since.
Sault said this year’s event promises to instill a sense of pride in MCNFN members.
“They’re going to be proud we were here pre-Confederation; we went through Confederation, and we’re still here post-Confederation,” said Sault.
Fullerton will talk about land claims, and how they relate to Confederation.
“All our treaties are pre-Confederation,” said Sault. “We couldn’t submit pre-Confederation claims until 1990. You’ll hear a lot of history in how (MNCFN) was instrumental in the shaping of Ontario and Canada.”
Arts and culture will also be tied into the Historical Gathering.
“We try to bring all those things in,” said Sault, who’s hoping MNCFN members will have more knowledge of their history at the end of the gathering.
“I’m always excited about the gathering,” said Sault. “Each person brings different perspectives and knowledge to the gathering. It’s a smorgasbord of information-sharing and giving.”