Awen' Gathering Place

The Awen’ Gathering Place is a space along the Collingwood waterfront to recognize the First Nations presence in South Georgian Bay and to create opportunities for engagement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples while fostering reconciliation through education and conversation. 

A land acknowledgment is a formal statement of gratitude, an understanding of territory and a means of honoring Indigenous people who have lived and cared for the land since time immemorial. In the past they were shared by Indigenous People when visiting other territories, a customary protocol to express respect and to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land and are now an important part of reconciliation. Land acknowledgements ask of us to be mindful and reflect on our shared history, relationships and place.

Across Ontario there are over 40 treaties and other land agreements. Treaties were established as agreements between Indigenous Nations and the Crown. They form the basis of relationships, setting out the rights and responsibilities of First Nations and government (federal and provincial). The treaty-making process was undertaken in the spirit of peace, co-existence and mutual respect by First Nations people.

Treaty 18 was signed on October 17, 1818. It is also known as the Lake Simcoe-Nottawasga Treaty.

The first week in November is Treaties Recognition Week. You can find additional information about the importance of treaties and treaty relationships at the following links:

Saugeen Ojibway Nation Treaty History
Native Land Digital
Whose Land Treaties and Agreements
Lake Simcoe-Nottawasaga Treaty No. 18
Treaties Recognition Week

Collingwood resides within the Territory of Saugeen Ojibway Nation, which includes Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation and Saugeen First Nation and is home to many Indigenous peoples including Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe.

More About the Awen' Gathering Place

The concept for the Awen’ Gathering Place is based on the teachings of renowned Anishinaabe educator, artist and poet Dr. Duke Redbird. It links the seven layers of the food forest to the Seven Grandfather Teachings, an ancient Anishinaabe/Midewiwin teaching on the ethics of proper behaviour and conduct or ‘the good way of life’. These teachings are linked to lands that were for thousands of years, the source  of life for the Anishinaabeg peoples who gathered foods, medicines and materials from the forest in the area that is now Collingwood.

Photo of the Inukshuk with sun setting in the background by Doug BurlockAn inukshuk/inuksuk is an iconic Canadian symbol but what does it mean? 

For generations, Inuit have been creating these impressive stone markers on the vast Arctic landscape. Inuksuit (plural of Inuksuk) can be found throughout the circumpolar region.

Translation of inuksuk means 'human like'. They offer direction, but not in the way you might expect and they also act as landmarks. 

To follow their direction, look through the stomach if there is one or through the legs. The inuksuk faces the direction to go. 

Photo credit: Doug Burlock Photography

Three Inuit with their arms around each other sharing in laughterVisit Collingwood's Inuksuk to learn more...

Adjacent to Collingwood's Inuksuk you will find a sign with more about Inuit culture, created with the support of Muckpaloo Ipeelie. Read about Inuit traditional land, language and food and gain a new perspective on the Inuksuk at Sunset Park.