Here is the latest Honouring Indigenous People Rotary News and Events, projects, blogs, photos, films, and resources. There are many major initiatives and resources available to you and your Rotary club. Your Club can help.  Our District 7070 Action Committee's Areas of Focus Coordinator is Bill Empey from the Rotary Club of Toronto   If you have a good news story, please send it to Bill. Here are some highlights .........

Click here to view their website. For more news, check the Areas of Focus Action Committees Menu Bar in the District Newsletter under HIP.  This rapidly growing nation-wide movement, HIP,  is a partnership between Indigenous Peoples & Rotarians. The new website contains stories about supporters, just like you and your Club, who are making an impact across Canada by taking action to create lasting change! Here is a link to their latest Newsletters. 

News :

HIP continues to be engaged with Rotary Clubs and First Nation communities and organizations in Rotary District 7070.  Highlights of activities during 2022-2023 include;

Beyond the Orange Shirt Story

This year, HIP and many Rotary Clubs in the Niagara area are taking this event to a new level.  Beyond the Orange Shirt Story is a weeklong event hosted in Niagara Falls Ontario and designed to honour Residential School Survivors.  Phyllis Webstad, the indigenous youth who inspired the Orange shirt movement, will be at the event.  The highlight will be lighting up Niagara Falls in orange! The Rotary lunch at the Club Italia Restaurant was attended by over 100 people including local survivors. Dawn and Roberta Hill and others including Phyllis Webstad attended. The Rotary presentation was sponsored by Cogeco and is recorded on online

Y2Y Youth Engagement:


HIP ran a hugely successful Y2Y engagement programs  March 27 through April 1, 2023, in Winnipeg. This program brought indigenous and non-indigenous youth together to learn about and participate in First Nations culture and history.  Rotary Districts across Canada were involved. HIP  received over 80 applications from Youth across Canada interested in participating in this innovative experience.  
"This is an incredible opportunity for the next generation to come together to learn, share and build relationships," said John Currie, HIP Executive Director.
Youth spent 4-days participating in a Ceremonial Gathering at Turtle Lodge providing Knowledge Keepers and Youth Leaders with the opportunity to present Indigenous spiritual leadership perspectives of the land. The intent of the Gathering is for First Nations Youth, Elders, and Knowledge Keepers to share land-based knowledge, what healing means to us, and the meaning and practice of leadership. Following the Traditional Spiritual and Ceremonial Protocols of the Turtle Lodge, this Gathering began each day in the Ceremony with the Lifting of the Sacred Pipes and the Water Ceremony. Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth learned, through experience, ancestral ways of stewardship, and kindled in them a spiritual relationship with the land. This event was uniquely developed based on traditional teachings from the host territory.

• Build friendships with like-minded Indigenous and Non-Indigenous youth from across Canada
• Receive rare teachings from leading elders and knowledge keepers about Indigenous heritage, culture, and treaty relationships.
• Develop a hands-on understanding of nature and what it means to be a good steward of the land.

On day 5, youth experienced a private tour of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, the world’s first museum dedicated to human rights, and engage in dialogue about the truths of Residential Schools from The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Youth received certificates of participation from HIP, Turtle Lodge and the Ministry of Canadian Heritage. 

Be sure to see the many posts on the NATIONAL YOUTH-TO-YOUTH TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION EXPERIENCE on the District 7070 Facebook Page. A huge success. Thank you. 

The national program is now successfully completed and I am attaching CBC and CTV news coverage from Winnipeg. 


HIP has organized a Williams Treaty Y2Y group that includes the TRACKS Youth Program in the Peterborough area and other schools, First Nations communities, District 7070 and 7010 and its Rotary Clubs.  This group has organized virtual programs on Cultural Awareness, Water Teaching and Plan Medicine.  The Cultural Awareness event was supported by a grant from the District.  The in-person Camp Kawartha event bringing together 25 indigenous and 25 non-indigenous youth was cancelled for 2022.  Our indigenous partners have assessed the COVID 19 risks.  The weekend in person Y2Y event at Camp Kawartha has been rescheduled for a date to be determined in 2023


Misko Aki Confluence of Cultures, Digital Exhibition

Misko-Aki; Convergence of Cultures is a Muskoka based innovative plan for both a virtual and in-place exhibition of native history and culture.  The Huron-Wendat, Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, and Métis people have inhabited and traversed the Muskoka region (and most of District 7070) for millennia. Leaders from these communities have joined international, award winning artistic director Tim Johnson to form the Creative Indigenous Group that leads project.    Work is underway on an extension to the Muskoka Discovery Center in Gravenhurst.  The Centre has positioned itself at the leading edge of Indigenous museology to align with best practices and to provide the Muskoka Region with a profound expression of reconciliation in action.  Rotary Clubs in District 7070 and 7010 have requested presentations and are considering their participation. HIP continues to promote interest in the Misko Aki project at local Rotary Clubs.  A short program describing the exhibit is available for Rotary Club meetings.


Covenant of Nations; Sacred Wampum Renewal Gathering

HIP is supporting the Covenant of Nations, Sacred Wampum Gathering and the Indigenous communities that will be celebrating the importance of peace. The Covenant of Nations: Sacred Wampum gathering at Onondaga Nation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Anishinaabeg Nation to be held in Syracuse, NY will offer the first step in a continental movement to unify Indigenous Nations on Turtle Island. Such a historic meeting has not taken place between to Nations since pre-colonial times. The old alliances of covenants of peace and friendship encoded within wampum belts will be renewed by the spiritual leaders of both Nations. Spiritual leaders as witnesses from other Indigenous Nations will be invited to carry the Fire home to their people to work for Peace, and respectful relationships.  Rotary Clubs are encouraged to support the Covenant of Nations.  HIP and Rotary has been asked to help with the program and this represents a strong affirmation of the high regard the Rotary has in the indigenous community.  HIP can provide a short presentation at your club meetings. The Covenant of Nations event has been rescheduled for the spring of 2023.

General Networking

HIP has helped prepare indigenous participation at the District 7070 conference in October at the Nottawasaga Inn.  Cora McGuire-Cyrette, executive officer at the Ontario Native Woman’s association will be a speaker.  HIP is working with 7070 Clubs including help with land acknowledgements .

Bill Empey

HIP Coordinator, District 7070


What is your club doing to Honour Indigenous People?

Please email Julie Dunaiskis ( with a brief summary so we can post on the HIP website and provide an update in upcoming newsletters. This will help other clubs and provide a sense of how we are involved. We do not know the precise number of clubs across Canada who are involved in educational and awareness activities, however, our guess is we are close to 175 and growing. Some clubs were involved well before HIP, many on their own and some because of our encouragement and leadership.


Julie Dunaiskis

Administrator, HIP (Honouring Indigenous Peoples)


Rotary District 7070 HIP Co-ordinator:

We are pleased to let everyone know that Bill Empey, Rotary Club of Toronto, is our Rotary District 7070 HIP Co-ordinator. If you are looking for a speaker or for a project, Bill is definitely the person to contact. He can be reached at .


Request a Speaker - Would your club like to have a Speaker at an upcoming meeting?


BE INSPIRED BY HIP STORIES!  Read all HIP stories by visiting


Recommended Education: 

Indigenous Canada is a 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. From an Indigenous perspective, this course explores key issues facing Indigenous peoples today from a historical and critical perspective highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations. Topics for the 12 lessons include the fur trade and other exchange relationships, land claims and environmental impacts, legal systems and rights, political conflicts and alliances, Indigenous political activism, and contemporary Indigenous life, art and its expressions. 

Click here to learn about Indigenous Canada


Events and Activities: 

Click here to see the full list of events and activities.


About HIP: Our Story, Our Logo, Our Mission and Vision: click here

LEARN & SHARE:  Click here

VIDEOS: Watch an assorted list of education, cultural & event videos

BOOKS: HIP has compiled a list of recommended reading

PODCASTS: Listen to leaders sharing thought-provoking conversations

TERMINOLOGY: Learn appropriate terms that show respect.

HIP BLOG: Sharing information and news from people just like you.



HIP continues to research, listen and learn. By visiting many Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, we seek to understand shared purpose and values. We thank the Knowledge Keepers, Rotarians, Elders, Teachers, Leaders, Allies, Stakeholders, Partners, Sponsors and other subject matter experts who have supported our journey and provided wisdom and guidance.  HIP is happy to share our knowledge and resources to inspire, engage, educate and enable Indigenous and non-Indigenous relationship building.  If you do not find what you are looking for, please contact us

BECOME A HIP SPEAKER: Are you an Elder, Rotarian, Youth Leader, Knowledge Keeper or other subject matter expert? Join our roster of speakers!

CONNECT : Click here

Follow Chris’s journey on Facebook @70YearVolunteer & Twitter @70YearVolunteer
Hello, All,  She Kon

Working Together on the Environment..HIP, Y2Y and Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Youth

Climate change and the environment is front and centre in virtually every news outlet not only in Canada but around the world. COP29 in Cairo on climate change and COP15 on conservation in Montreal were attended by representatives from approximately 200 countries.COP15 included many Indigenous People. Getting every country to work together is a major challenge, however, coming out of the Montreal conference, after much wrangling, all countries lead by Canada have agreed to protect 30% of the world's land mass and marine areas by 2030. (Canada made this commitment several years ago). This was GREAT news.

Apart from these conferences, there have been an increasing number of calls to action for Non-Indigenous and Indigenous Peoples to work together on the environment lead by Indigenous Peoples who have a longer history of respect and caring for their lands and water. This is because of their history of living in harmony with other species, views that everything is interconnected and dependent on one another and all work together in caring for Mother Earth. In fact, this is the focus of a new environmental program at McGill initiated in part by Ken Dryden..yes, the hockey player, author, politician, concerned human being Ken Dryden.

Corporations are also taking note to include Indigenous perspectives in their corporate purpose and opportunities are waiting. Mark Podlasly, Sustainability Officer of First Nations Major Projects Coalition, Board Director of Hydro One and member of CN Railway's Indigenous Advisory Council on Indigenous involvement in energy, natural resources and infrastructure is part of a coalition playing a leading role in advancing discussions about inclusive, Indigenous-led growth in Canada. Read more about the FNMPC

Rotary has recently chosen the environment as one of their themes. So have Indigenous Peoples who among other things have their Guardians Program which champions and funds mainly young people to protect the lands on which they live. Protecting our planet is indeed a common cause in which Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples can work together.

On the action front, HIP has initiated a program, Youth-to-Youth (Y2Y) in which both young Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples come together to focus on Indigenous designed land-based education. There have already been several successful Y2Y programs delivered.You may know there is a major program being hosted by Rotary District 5550 March 25-31, 2023. In this program, 25 Indigenous and 25 non-Indigenous youth (high school) from every province and territory in Canada will come together at Turtle Lodge just outside Winnipeg. This gathering meets all of HIP's mandatesEducation, Awareness and Building of Relationships. It is being funded in part by the federal government, however, we do need you to participate!

Here are two ways you can:

  • Please encourage both Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth in your area to apply to come (there is no cost). See website
  • Help fund this exciting initiative. We are hoping 50 clubs from across Canada will contribute $1,500 or more
Working together on the environment is a fabulous way to work towards reconciliation and an idea whose time has come

Chris Snyder
Co-Chair, HIP (Honouring Indigenous Peoples)