Declaration of Action on Truth and Reconciliation

Hamilton Community Foundation is deeply humbled by, and grateful, to our Indigenous partners and would like to acknowledge their grace and work over the past two years in helping to shape this Declaration of Action on Truth and Reconciliation. We commit to ongoing reciprocal relationship and trust building, to implementation that will bring this Declaration to life, and to measuring  progress in the short and long-term.

HCF is also requesting proposals for consulting support to implement the Declaration and the evaluation of our progress.

Guiding principles
Short-term actions
Longer-term actions


The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Final Report (2015)[1] affirms that colonialism remains an ongoing process in Canada. Canada has, and continues to, perpetrate harm and violence against Indigenous people through historical and contemporary policies attempting to eliminate and assimilate Indigenous people from/into white settler culture and society, particularly through the Indian Act and the legacy of Canada’s residential school system. Colonialism is not a singular event of the past, but a process that persists and continues to (re)traumatize and oppress Indigenous people, including through Canada’s child protection practices and systemic racism that denies Indigenous people access to health care, education, a safe and healthy environment, basic needs, safety, and self-determination. Further, Canadian settler-colonialism has specifically and intentionally sought to displace and erase Indigenous Peoples and cultures by disrupting Indigenous people’s kinship and connection with their land and territories through forced relocation and dispossession, as well as the historical banning of cultural practices, ceremonies, and languages. These lands and territories are governed through colonial agreements and paternalistic legislation that continues to displace Indigenous people and their central role as caretakers of their lands and territories.

Hamilton Community Foundation (HCF) is a settler colonial organization complicit in, and beneficiary of, the historical and ongoing colonialism and systemic racism against Indigenous peoples. Moreover, HCF recognizes the philanthropic sector’s complicity and acknowledges that the sector’s wealth is directly tied to the displacement and economic exploitation of Indigenous people across Turtle Island (North America). The Foundation recognizes that we have assets under management that are directly tied to the Indian Hospital and Sanatoria System which forcibly displaced and relocated Indigenous people.[2]

The Foundation recognizes that it continues to benefit from, and live in, the contradictions of broken treaties and persistent inaction on Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous people. Beyond recognizing these injustices, we commit to continuously learning and deepening alignment of our hearts, minds, intentions, words and actions with Indigenous rights and self-determination. We understand that this work is complex and ongoing. More importantly, this work requires humility and courage to continuously act in ways that meaningfully advance the self-determination of Indigenous peoples through the Foundation’s relinquishment of power over people, land and culture.

Guiding Principles

HCF has developed a set of guiding principles to govern our work and commitment to Truth and Reconciliation.

As a member of the Circle on Philanthropy[3], HCF has committed to work with peers to leverage its resources, power and privilege in service of Reconciliation. Specifically, HCF recognizes its commitment to advancing reconciliation in Hamilton must be informed and guided by local Indigenous leadership as well as local First Nations representatives/leadership. Further, HCF commits to the actions below, to contribute to the progress and implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action[4] and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People[5]. This declaration is a starting point and has been made public for accountability to the Indigenous community of Hamilton as well as the wider/general public on HCF’s progress in the following areas:

Short-term actions

In relationship with local urban Indigenous-led organizations and Indigenous leaders of Hamilton:

Longer-term actions

In relationship with local urban Indigenous-led organizations and Indigenous leaders of Hamilton:

HCF acknowledges that this declaration of action is an iterative and living commitment towards Truth and Reconciliation that will continue to evolve with dialogue and guidance from local Indigenous partners. Further, HCF commits to evaluating and sharing its progress on short- and long-term goals, with measurable targets with local urban Indigenous-led organizations and leadership.

[1] https://ehprnh2mwo3.exactdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf

[2] https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/telling-the-story-of-hundreds-of-inuit-sick-with-tb-who-were-shipped-to-hamilton-1.3842103

[3] https://www.the-circle.ca/uploads/1/2/5/6/125694502/the_declaration__english_.pdf

[4] https://ehprnh2mwo3.exactdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf

[5] https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2018/11/UNDRIP_E_web.pdf

[6] https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LoYIY5C-B7RCi-AIvQVWpg8u4McDOtWp/view

[7] https://natoa.ca/

[8] https://natoa.ca/reconciliationandinvestment/

[9] https://fnigc.ca/what-we-do/ocap-and-information-governance/