Indigenous Peoples

Giving Thanks

Silver Lake is part of the traditional territory of the Anishnaabek Nation:  home to the People of the Three Fires known as Ojibwe, Odawa and Pottawatomie Nations.  We give thanks to the Chippewas of Saugeen, and Chippewas of Nawash, now known as the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON), as the traditional keepers of this land.

With thanks to the SON Environment Office, click here to watch “Welcome to the Saugeen Ojibway Nation”and click here to learn more about the context of racism in the area.

Indigenous Connections with Silver Lake

Indigenous campers and staff are part of the Silver Lake community and have been throughout Silver Lake’s existence.   The community is so enriched by this gift of presence.

Many years ago a hut used by Saugeen Ojibway Nation at the entrance to the beach burned down. Silver Lake volunteers built a replacement hut and brought it to the beach, offering it as a sign of friendship.

In 2016 Indigenous Water Walkers walked through Silver Lake.

In 2021 Silver Lake joined Giiwe, a program whose name means “‘he or she comes home” in Anishnabemowin of M’Wikwedong Friendship Centre  Giiwe created a safe space to build relationships, foster meaningful collaboration and nurture trust between Indigenous and non-Indigenous agencies and organizations, pursuing its journey by guiding Reconciliation pathways and providing opportunities for Indigenous leadership within agencies and organizations.  Silver Lake expresses deep gratitude for Giiwe and for all who made Giiwe possible.

In 2022 and 2023 Silver Lake welcomed Elder Shirley John to open the summer season with Silver Lake staff.  In 2022 and 2023 George Couchie and Diane Giroux led Indigenous Cultural Awareness retreats at Silver Lake.

In 2023 a healing circle for survivors of Indian Day Schools was held at Silver Lake.

In 2023 an Indigenous Youth Land Based Learning program, a collaboration with M’Wikwedong Friendship Centre and St. Mary’s High School, was hosted at Silver Lake.  The program welcomed 8 Indigenous youth to reconnect with Indigenous culture, the land, each other and themselves.  At the end of the program M’Wikwedong Friendship Centre gave a sign to Silver Lake that reads “Shingwak” (little pine), in recognition of the Indigenization of “The Pines,”  the building which is the classroom of the program. Congratulations to all graduates!

In 2023 a Sweat Lodge was crafted at Silver lake by Indigenous youth and Lorne Pawis from M’Wikwedong Friendship Centre.

In 2023 the SON came to Silver Lake to interview Indigenous hunters and to map traditional hunting territories.

In 2024 the second Indgenous Youth Land Based Learning program is taking place at Silver Lake.

In March of 2024 M’Wikwedong Friendship Centre will host March break programs for Indigenous youth and families.

Silver Lake is repenting of the years of not honouring Indigenous culture, living with ignorance, disconnection and isolation from the land and the peoples of the land.  Recognizing Creator as the Great Mystery, Silver Lake is on a spiritual, healing journey of reconnection.

There is heartfelt gratitude beyond words for the welcome Indigenous peoples have so generously shared with the Silver Lake community and for Indigenous voices within the Silver Lake community.