Mapping Indigenous history along Metrolinx network

Treaties Recognition Week takes place this week, and Metrolinx is spreading awareness to customers and communities. Here are some of the ways Metrolinx is recognizing treaties across the transit network.

Every road, house, building and even the GO Transit network was made possible because of a treaty.

As Ontario marks Treaties Recognition Week (Nov. 1-7), Metrolinx is spreading the word on how important the relationship with First Nations is to everything the transit agency does, from the tracks and buses of GO, to UP Express to the 29 major infrastructure projects currently underway.

That acknowledgement includes land acknowledgements before meetings and a new visual map that shows the original keepers of the land Metrolinx works on.

With 46 treaties, legally binding agreements between First Nations and the British Crown in Ontario, it isn’t surprising that almost every GO line crosses multiple treaty areas. As Metrolinx took part in National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30 , land acknowledgement statements were used across the GO and UP Express networks, making it clear that Metrolinx operates on the traditional territories of many nations.

Christine Parris, Community Relations and Issues specialist in Indigenous Relations at Metrolinx, says Metrolinx is working to build stronger relationships with the original keepers of the land.

“It’s really important that we acknowledge history – correct history and history that lives in documents that largely people aren’t aware of,” says Parris. “As a Métis Indigenous person, I feel really proud of my heritage, and my background, and I’m proud that a part of my heritage lives within the history of Canada and is intrinsic to the making of Canada.”

Metrolinx has also created a map that shows GO Transit routes, overlaid treaty territories across the Greater Golden Horseshoe. It was developed with feedback from several Indigenous Nations.

“Viewing the Treaties map you can clearly identify where you live and what treaty territory you are within,” says Parris, adding the hope is that the map inspires customers to dig deeper into the history of the land they live, work and travel across.

With Metrolinx operating on lands covered by 20 Treaties – over 40 per cent of the total treaties covered in Ontario – the agency’s Indigenous Relations Office at Metrolinx is continuing to look for ways to bring awareness of this history to Metrolinx customers and staff.

To learn more about treaties, please click here.

Story by Heather Glicksman, Metrolinx communications coordinator.