“O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for God can best protect both…”
(Quran 4: 135)
Islamic Relief Canada affirms and advocates for the collective and inherent rights of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples in Canada and the universal rights of Indigenous peoples around the world. Cognizant of our responsibilities as treaty people1, and guided by our values of sincerity, excellence, compassion, social justice and custodianship, we commit ourselves to truth-seeking and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
Islamic Relief Canada recognizes that we are visitors on this land, living and working on the traditional territories of Indigenous peoples. We respectfully acknowledge that our national office in Burlington is located on the traditional lands of the Mississaugas and the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Treaty. This Treaty was made between the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee as part of the Great Peace of Montreal. Following the Treaty of Niagara in 1764, Europeans and other newcomers joined the Dish with One Spoon Treaty.
“We all eat out of the Dish, all of us that share this territory, with only one spoon.”
The “Dish” in this Treaty represents the territory of Southern Ontario extending from the Great Lakes to Quebec. This Treaty is an agreement to live together in peace, sharing the land while also taking on the responsibility of preserving and protecting the land and the animals within it – thus ensuring the “Dish” is never empty. It is important to note that there are no knives brought to the table, symbolizing the spirit of peace and mutual respect inherent to this Treaty.
*Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt
“The reward of an evil deed is its equivalent. But whoever pardons and seeks reconciliation, then their reward is with God. He certainly does not like the wrongdoers.”
1. IRC commits to engaging with Indigenous Peoples in a good way2,, guided by the principles of respect, recognition, sharing and responsibility outlined by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.
2. IRC recognizes that there cannot be reconciliation in the absence of truth. As individuals and organizations, we have much to learn, and unlearn. We therefore commit to engaging in truth processes by promoting ongoing education and awareness initiatives for staff and volunteers to learn about Canadian colonialism, including the residential school system and the Sixties’ Scoop, as well as Indigenous rights, histories, and cultures – in fulfillment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. While we commit to upholding and supporting all TRC Calls to Action, IRC’s commitment specifically responds to Recommendation 92 outlining the steps corporations can take to work toward reconciliation. As part of our truth and reconciliation journey, IRC will invite Elders and members of Indigenous nations and communities to impart wisdom and share teachings with our staff whilst internally continuing to share educational resources with our staff and volunteers.
3. IRC commits to supporting the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world as affirmed by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We continue to uphold Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination and support actions to ensure fundamental rights such as the right to clean water, housing, sanitation, health and social security are respected.
4. IRC commits to maintaining and building new relationships with Indigenous nations, communities and organizations through policy advocacy, programs support, collaborative partnerships, and community-based service delivery. IRC will continue to seek out avenues to expand our programs with Indigenous nations and communities, ensuring we are promoting culturally sensitive and informed programs that advance Indigenous health and wellbeing.
5. IRC commits to honouring and adhering to the Indigenous-developed OCAP Principles when engaging in any research or information-sharing involving Indigenous peoples.
And Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, is reported to have said: “The best charity is to reconcile between people.” [At-Tabarani]
1 We are all treaty people. Find out more about what that means here: https://www.oise.utoronto.ca/abed101/we-are-all-treaty-people/
2 What does it mean to live “in a good way?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EE6BAcSqhZo/
→ Want to be a better ally? Check out the Indigenous Ally Toolkit http://reseaumtlnetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Ally_March.pdf
→ Do you know which Indigenous lands you live on? Simply type out your city and find out more about the traditional territories you reside upon and the peoples who walked the land before you. https://native-land.ca/
→ Stay informed through Indigenous-authored research, articles and reports: https://yellowheadinstitute.org/
→ Learn about Canada’s colonial past and your role in reconciliation. Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action