Fort York Historic Site

The Indigenous Arts Festival was a three-day event, held at the Fort York National Historic Site between June 18th-20th 2015. The festival was a free event, open to the general public featuring Indigenous art, food, music and dance.

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FORT YORK BARRACKS

It seems counter-intuitive to host an event celebrating Indigenous Peoples at Fort York, a military location that seems representative of the military colonization of Toronto. However, the site is symbolic of the alliance between Aboriginal peoples and British subjects who fought together against invading American forces.  According to the Fort York website, 750 British, Canadians, Mississaugas, and Ojibways with 12 cannon defended Toronto against a 2700-strong American army on fourteen ships and schooners, equipped with eighty-five cannon.

Fort York Website

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FORT YORK VISTORS CENTRE SIGNAGE

This historical knowledge makes it clear that the location was culturally relevant. Furthermore, prior to the traditional musical and dance performance, it was acknowledged that Fort York was situated on the historical lands of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.

Map of Indigenous peoples in Canada

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MODERN ENTRANCE (Above) & HISTORIC ENTRANCE (Below)

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BANNERS DETAILING THE MURDER OF CHIEF WABAKININE

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In the summer of 1797 Chief Wabakinine of the Mississaugas, his wife and his sister traveled from the Credit River to Toronto to sell salmon. The three of them made camp for the night. The chief was awoken by his wife, who alerted him to the fact that his sister was in danger from soldier C. McCuen who was attempting to have sexual relations with her. The Chief was killed during his confrontation with the soldier. The Mississaugas demanded retribution but the soldier was never brought to justice.

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INDIGENOUS MURAL INSIDE VISTORS CENTRE


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FORT YORK GARRISON ENTRANCE

The juxtaposition of the brick garrison with the Toronto city skyline reflects the merging of the historic and modern.

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