Majority of Indigenous respondents say they experienced discrimination accessing city services and in the broader community.
Land for ceremony is one of many suggestions to come out of a survey asking how Hamilton can strengthen its relationship with Indigenous residents.
Indigenous urbanites are surrounded by concrete, but the connection to natural spaces is central to their identity, culture and language, says Shylo Elmayan.
"All of that comes from the connection to land and understanding of land," said Elmayan , who’s leading the development of Hamilton’s Urban Indigenous Strategy.
This week, partners in the project released the results of a survey on what action the city could take to make Hamilton a better place for Indigenous residents.
Elmayan said another prominent suggestion was a call for education, whether it’s more for Indigenous residents or training for city staff.
The survey found roughly 70 per cent of Indigenous respondents said they’d experienced discrimination while accessing city services in the past two years. About 80 per cent said they’d experienced it in the broader community.
The results are based on 513 fully or partially completed surveys by Indigenous and non-Indigenous respondents alike. Of those, 26 per cent identified as being Indigenous or having Indigenous ancestry.
Estimates of Hamilton’s Indigenous population vary, but Statistics Canada noted 2016 census data pegged the number at 17,665.
A wide range of suggestions was based on the strategic themes of land, people and spirit. Here are some:
• Respect and inclusion of Indigenous world views and teachings about land;
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