Six Nations of the Grand River
Also known as the Iroquois, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy originally consisted of five nations: the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas. The exact date of the joining of these nations is unknown but is said to be time immemorial, making it one of the first and longest-lasting participatory democracies in the world. After the Tuscarora joined the confederacy early in the 18th century, people started to refer to the Haudenosaunee as the Six Nations of the Grand River. Through the confederacy, these nations are united by a common goal to create a peaceful means of decision making and live in harmony.
Each nation maintains its own council with Chiefs chosen by the Clan Mother and deals with its own internal affairs. However, they allow the Grand Council to deal with issues affecting the nations within the confederacy. What makes the Six Nations unique to other systems around the world is its blending of law and values. For them, law, society, and nature are equal partners, each playing an important role.
Learn more about Six Nations history and culture by reading the National Museum of the American Indian’s Haudenosaunee Guide for Educators (PDF).
Today, the Six Nations of the Grand River mainly reside on the Haldimand tract. This tract of land was granted to the Six Nations in compensation for their alliance with British forces during the American Revolution. The University of Waterloo’s main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, which extends for six miles on each side of the Grand River. The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg, and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Indigenous Initiatives Office.
Learn more about Six Nations land rights by reading Land Rights: A Global Solution for the Six Nations of the Grand River Booklet (PDF).
To learn more about territorial acknowledgements at Waterloo, visit our Territorial Acknowledgment page
Mississaugas of the Credit
The Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (MCFN) is a thriving and vibrant community, full of individuals reaching for their roots as well as the future as they prepare to teach the next 7 generations it’s history and culture. This community fought through hundreds of years of change. They survived near extinction, battled in numerous wars, suffered loss of culture, established a new way of life, and faced the trials and tribulations that came with facing the Canadian government and those who now occupy their traditional territory. Despite all of these challenges, the Mississaugas of the Credit have continued to adapt and evolve into the strong First Nation community that exists today.
The Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation is part of the Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) nation, one of the largest First Nations in North America.
The Mississaugas of the Credit were the original owners of the territory embraced in the following description, namely commencing at Long Point on Lake Erie thence eastward along the shore of the Lake to the Niagara River. Then down the River to Lake Ontario, then northward along the shore of the Lake to the River Rouge east of Toronto, then up that river to the dividing ridges to the head waters of the River Thames, then southward to Long Point, the place of the beginning.
Watch A Sacred Trust (13-minute video) to learn more about the Mississaugas of the Credit’s history and traditional territory.
To learn more about the general history of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, read The Mississaugas of the Credit: Historical Territory, Resource and Land Use (PDF).
O:se Kenhionhata:tie (Land Back Camp)
Land Back Camp is a group of TwoSpirit IndigiQueeer folx and queeer/trans or LGBTQ+ settler accomplices representing several nations. The group seeks to reclaim culture, space, and land. The group has gathered and lived in Victoria Park, Kitchener as well as Waterloo Park and Laurel Creek Conservation Area in Waterloo. The group of people representing O:se Kenhionhata:tie seeks to waive all fees for Indigenous communities to host events in public spaces; give back the land in Victoria Park and Waterloo Park to the Indigenous Peoples; urge cities to create paid positions, at all levels, for Indigenous Peoples to engage with the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples living on this territory; and push for cities to create Indigenous Advisory Committees.
The Healing of the Seven Generations
The Healing of the Seven Generations assists First Nations Peoples within the Waterloo Region and surrounding areas who are suffering the inter-generational impacts of the residential school system.
Anishnabeg Outreach is an incorporated non-profit organization that provides Indigenous peoples with access to culturally appropriate services, striving to support folx to overcome barriers. They provide services in multiple locations in Ontario, including Kitchener.
Indigenous Businesses and Creators
Discover Indigenous businesses and creators located in the Waterloo Region by browsing the non-exhaustive list:
If you know of any other Indigenous artists, authors, businesses, singers and/or musicians in the Waterloo Region, please email us at email@example.com so they can be added to this list.