Wesley’s services are located in Hamilton, Halton, and Brantford. Hamilton and the Grand River Valley are situated upon the traditional territories of the Neutral, Huron-Wendat, and Haudenosaunee Nations of Turtle Island, the original name of Canada. Parts of Hamilton are also located on lands of the Erie. Hamilton and Halton are situated on the lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit and Brantford is situated on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishnaabeg.
These lands were shared under the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Agreement between the Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee, to share and care for the resources around Michigami – the Great Lakes region. This wampum uses the symbolism of a dish to represent the territory, and one spoon to represent that the people are to share the resources of the land, take only what they need and leave plenty for others. The Dish with One Spoon reminds us that we are stewards of the land – not owners of it. Wesley joins the call to redress the legacy of residential schools, systemic injustices, and violence against Indigenous Peoples, their culture, and identity by rising to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report. These acts were integral to the founding of Canada and their lasting intergenerational effects on Indigenous Peoples include poorer health, higher rates of inadequate housing, lower income levels, and particular vulnerabilities of Indigenous women and girls.
Wesley’s founder, The United Church of Canada (UCC), acknowledges “Residential and day institutions operated by The United Church…have and continue to cause irrevocable harm and suffering for the communities. Through the repatriation of records to Indigenous communities, we work towards reconciliation and living out our apologies for the reality and ongoing legacy of residential schools.”
As a social service organization serving many of the most vulnerable citizens, we further recognize the complicity of social workers in upholding colonial policies and practices that have caused generations of harm in Indigenous communities.
Wesley concurs with The Canadian Association of Social Work Education (CASWE), which states, “colonizing narratives, policies, and practices have been, and continue to be, embedded in social work education, research and practice,” which “contradicts the espoused values and ethics of social work, potentially negates the positive impact of social work interventions, and results in harmful policies and practices.”
At every opportunity Wesley commits to collaborate with local Indigenous-led organizations as we walk the path of truth and reconciliation. We walk side by
side with our Indigenous community partners to put into daily practice the principles of the Wampum Belt Agreement. In service to this commitment, we
undertake the ongoing project of Indigenizing Wesley’s policies, procedures and practices, which involves listening to Indigenous peoples, acknowledging the truth
and legacy of colonization, and integrating lessons learned from accounts of intergenerational trauma relayed by Indigenous survivors.
National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation website: https://nctr.ca
National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca
Rice, Kylie. (2023). Residential Schools and Their Lasting Impacts. The Indigenous Foundation. https://www.theindigenousfoundation.org/articles/residential-schools-their-lasting-impacts
Ontario Association of Social Workers. Land Acknowledgement Guide. https://www.oasw.org/Public/Public/Events_and_Education/Land_Acknowledgement_Guide.aspx?hkey=d18df560-a491-4d0f-b9c1-2be2d3c861fd
 United Church of Canada Archives. Land Acknowledgement. Available at: https://www.unitedchurcharchives.ca/about-us/land-acknowledgement/
 Canadian Association of Social Work Education. (2017). Media release: Board of Directors Endorses a Statement of Complicity and Commits to Change. Available at: https://caswe-acfts.ca/media-release-board-of-directors-endorses-a-statement-of-complicity-and-commits-to-change/
Make a Difference
We are one of the longest standing non-profits in the region, serving Hamilton, Halton and Brantford. We fight for those battling the effects of poverty, in every stage and from every walk of life.
Wesley is situated upon the traditional territories of the Erie, Neutral, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Mississaugas and is covered under the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant. We are dedicated to advancing opportunities for learning and education and are committed to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report.
Read more on Wesley’s Land Acknowledgement below. Or learn more about Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Wesley