Posted by John Currie, Executive Director, Honouring Indigenous People

Here is the latest Honouring Indigenous People Rotary News and Events, projects, blogs, photos, films, and resources. There are many major initiatives and resources available to you and your Rotary club. Your Club can help.  Our District 7070 Action Committee's Areas of Focus Coordinator is Bill Empey from the Rotary Club of Toronto   If you have a good news story, please send it to Bill. Here are some highlights .........

Click here to view their new website. For more news, check the Areas of Focus Action Committees Menu Bar in the District Newsletter under HIP.  This rapidly growing nation-wide movement, HIP,  is a partnership between Indigenous Peoples & Rotarians. The new website contains stories about supporters, just like you and your Club, who are making an impact across Canada by taking action to create lasting change! Here is a link to all of their latest Newsletters. 

News :

HIP continues to be engaged with Rotary Clubs and First Nation communities and organizations in Rotary District 7070.  Highlights of activities during 2022-2023 include;

Beyond the Orange Shirt Story

Orange Shirt Day, now known as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, is held annually on September 30th. It is an opportunity to create meaningful discussion about the effects of Residential Schools and the legacy they have left behind. A discussion all Canadians can tune into and create bridges with each other for reconciliation. A day for survivors to be reaffirmed that they matter, and so do those that have been affected. Every Child Matters, even if they are an adult, from now on.

This year, HIP and many Rotary Clubs in the Niagara area are taking this event to a new level.  Beyond the Orange Shirt Story is a weeklong event hosted in Niagara Falls Ontario and designed to honour Residential School Survivors.  Phyllis Webstad, the indigenous youth who inspired the Orange shirt movement, will be at the event.  The highlight will be lighting up Niagara Falls in orange!

Y2Y Youth Engagement

HIP is coordinating Y2Y engagement programs that bring indigenous and non-indigenous youth together to learn about and participate in First Nations culture and history.  Rotary Districts across Canada are involved. Plans are complete for a national Youth to Youth engagement event in Winnipeg in March of 2023.  Fifty high school (25 indigenous and 25 non-indigenous) students will be selected to participate in a four-day event at Turtle Lodge, north of Winnipeg where elders will lead teachings and activities.  Participants will also visit the Museum for Human Rights.  Target numbers for students are set for each Rotary District and Province and the District and Clubs are invited to encourage applications and participation.  HIP will send more details to the District and Clubs.

HIP has organized a Williams Treaty Y2Y group that includes the TRACKS Youth Program in the Peterborough area and other schools, FN communities, District 7070 and its Rotary Clubs.  This group has organized virtual programs on Cultural Awareness, Water Teaching and Plan Medicine.  The Cultural Awareness event was supported by a grant from the District.  The in-person Camp Kawartha event bringing together 25 indigenous and 25 non-indigenous youth was rescheduled for October 7, 8, 9.  Our indigenous partners have assessed the COVID 19 risks related to the event scheduled for Camp Kawartha and feel that overnight / shared sleeping arrangements pose a serious possibility of infection.  Accordingly, we have decided to cancel the Y2Y Camp Kawartha event.

We are inviting students and their families to an event focused on reconciliation, youth leadership and sustainable environmental change.  We will join indigenous leaders and families for a day of activities and friendship on Sunday Nov 6, at the Camp Kawartha Center of the Environment**.   The weekend in person event at Camp Kawartha has been rescheduled for May 12 - 14, 2023

Rotarians and their high school students are invited to join the November 6 event.   

Misko Aki Confluence of Cultures, Digital Exhibition

Misko-Aki; Convergence of Cultures is a Muskoka based innovative plan for both a virtual and in-place exhibition of native history and culture.  The Huron-Wendat, Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, and Métis people have inhabited and traversed the Muskoka region (and most of District 7070) for millennia. Leaders from these communities have joined international, award winning artistic director Tim Johnson to form the Creative Indigenous Group that leads project.    Work is underway on an extension to the Muskoka Discovery Center in Gravenhurst.  The Centre has positioned itself at the leading edge of Indigenous museology to align with best practices and to provide the Muskoka Region with a profound expression of reconciliation in action.  Rotary Clubs in District 7070 and 7010 have requested presentations and are considering their participation.

HIP continues to promote interest in the Misko Aki project at local Rotary Clubs.  A short program describing the exhibit is available for Rotary Club meetings.


Covenant of Nations; Sacred Wampum Renewal Gathering

HIP is supporting the Covenant of Nations, Sacred Wampum Gathering and the Indigenous communities that will be celebrating the importance of peace.

The Covenant of Nations: Sacred Wampum gathering at Onondaga Nation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Anishinaabeg Nation to be held in Syracuse, NY, will offer the first step in a continental movement to unify Indigenous Nations on Turtle Island. Such a historic meeting has not taken place between to Nations since pre-colonial times. The old alliances of covenants of peace and friendship encoded within wampum belts will be renewed by the spiritual leaders of both Nations. Spiritual leaders as witnesses from other Indigenous Nations will be invited to carry the Fire home to their people to work for Peace, and respectful relationships.  Rotary Clubs are encouraged to support the Covenant of Nations.  HIP and Rotary has been asked to help with the program and this represents a strong affirmation of the high regard the Rotary has in the indigenous community.  HIP can provide a short presentation at your club meetings.

The Covenant of Nations event was originally scheduled for the fall of 2022 but has been rescheduled for the spring of 2023.

General Networking

HIP has helped prepare indigenous participation at the District 7070 conference in October at the Nottawasaga Inn.  Cora McGuire-Cyrette, executive officer at the Ontario Native Woman’s association will be a speaker.  HIP is working with 7070 Clubs including help with land acknowledgements .

Bill Empey

HIP Coordinator, District 7070


What is your club doing to Honour Indigenous People?

Please email Julie Dunaiskis ( with a brief summary so we can post on the HIP website and provide an update in upcoming newsletters. This will help other clubs and provide a sense of how we are involved. We do not know the precise number of clubs across Canada who are involved in educational and awareness activities, however, our guess is we are close to 175 and growing. Some clubs were involved well before HIP, many on their own and some because of our encouragement and leadership.


Julie Dunaiskis

Administrator, HIP (Honouring Indigenous Peoples)


Rotary District 7070 HIP Co-ordinator:

We are pleased to let everyone know that Bill Empey, Rotary Club of Toronto, is our Rotary District 7070 HIP Co-ordinator. If you are looking for a speaker or for a project, Bill is definitely the person to contact. He can be reached at .


Request a Speaker - Would your club like to have a Speaker at an upcoming meeting?


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Recommended Education: 

Indigenous Canada is a 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. From an Indigenous perspective, this course explores key issues facing Indigenous peoples today from a historical and critical perspective highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations. Topics for the 12 lessons include the fur trade and other exchange relationships, land claims and environmental impacts, legal systems and rights, political conflicts and alliances, Indigenous political activism, and contemporary Indigenous life, art and its expressions. 

Click here to learn about Indigenous Canada


Events and Activities: 

Click here to see the full list of events and activities.


About HIP: Our Story, Our Logo, Our Mission and Vision: click here

LEARN & SHARE:  Click here

VIDEOS: Watch an assorted list of education, cultural & event videos

BOOKS: HIP has compiled a list of recommended reading

PODCASTS: Listen to leaders sharing thought-provoking conversations

TERMINOLOGY: Learn appropriate terms that show respect.

HIP BLOG: Sharing information and news from people just like you.



HIP continues to research, listen and learn. By visiting many Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, we seek to understand shared purpose and values. We thank the Knowledge Keepers, Rotarians, Elders, Teachers, Leaders, Allies, Stakeholders, Partners, Sponsors and other subject matter experts who have supported our journey and provided wisdom and guidance.  HIP is happy to share our knowledge and resources to inspire, engage, educate and enable Indigenous and non-Indigenous relationship building.  If you do not find what you are looking for, please contact us

BECOME A HIP SPEAKER: Are you an Elder, Rotarian, Youth Leader, Knowledge Keeper or other subject matter expert? Join our roster of speakers!

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