Stewardship of Toronto’s ravines and natural areas is the responsibility of us all. We live and work on this land and communally share the benefits of this unique place. Ravines and natural areas in Toronto have been stewarded for thousands of years by First Nations peoples in a shared understanding of our integral place in nature. Canada now seeks reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples, and this means recognition of our shared responsibility to ensure this sacred land remains healthy and intact.
We acknowledge that Toronto and its ravines are part of the traditional territory of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples. Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 signed with the Mississaugas of the Credit, in Scarborough by the Williams Treaties signed with multiple Mississaugas and Chippewa bands, and is now home to many diverse nations who share responsibility as co-signers of these treaties.
Any attempt to steward the land must be done in the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report (TRCR) and must therefore be inclusive of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis voices. “Canadians from all walks of life are responsible for taking action on reconciliation in concrete ways, working collaboratively with Aboriginal peoples. Reconciliation begins with each and every one of us.” (TRCR, p.185). Learning to steward the land together is one such act of reconciliation.
As Canadians, nature defines us. Upon arrival, European settlers were invited into the “Dish with One Spoon Covenant” between the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples in the spirit of respect and responsibility for the land and nature. Respect does not mean ownership, but it does mean responsibility. To show respect for the land we are privileged to access, we must work to conserve it. By engaging Torontonians in ravine stewardship, we ensure that nature in the urban landscapes we cherish will thrive for generations to come.
The UN IPCC 2019 Special Report highlighted Indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) and the role it plays in mitigating climate change and land degradation. The resources provided on this website will enable all Toronto citizens to become stewards, protecting the intrinsic value of nature in our ravines.
To learn more about reconciliation, please read the Truth and Reconciliation Reports.