Saturday marked the largest turnout in years to the Landscape of Nations’ Indigenous Veterans Day ceremony.
Around 100 people came out to the ceremony at Queenston Heights Parks, the site where members of Six Nations and Indigenous allies participated in the War of 1812’s Battle of Queenston Heights.
During one of the ceremony’s presentations, Tim Johnson, who serves as senior Indigenous cultural advisor at the Niagara Parks Commission, announced a big step for Indigenous storytelling in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
The Landscape of Nations has started a Facebook page to share accurate and reliable Indigenous information with the community.
“It was time to make sure people got information about history, heritage and legacy about Indigenous peoples in the Niagara Region and to provide proper analysis and reflection on contemporary events as well,” he said.
The Landscape of Nations was founded seven years ago, and Johnson said the creation of this Facebook page is a “logical extension” of the work that began then.
The page, which made its first post on Thursday, has garnered a little more than 50 followers so far.
The founders of the Landscape of Nations will author of variety of Facebook posts for its audience, Johnson said.
“We think about it as an editorial team,” Johnson said. “Folks who really know how to cover issues and think about and analyze things from both an academic and journalistic standpoint.”
“That’s part of the approach we take on this,” he added. “It’s not just reposting things, although we are going to do that too.”
Personal reflections and analyses will prove useful to the community, he said.
Admins include Tim Johnson, Robyn Bourgeois, Karl Dockstader, Amanda Harwood and a recent addition, Sarah Kaufman, the NOTL Museum’s managing director.
Kaufman and the museum were heavily involved with the formation of the Landscape of Nations’ memorial at Queenston Heights, she said.
“It’s a very important part of the legacy here of the War of 1812 and Indigenous involvement in the area during that war,” she said.
Kaufman said she and the museum’s team look forward to helping out along the way and sees potential opportunity for integration of museum work with the page.
Along with the announcement of an increased social media presence for the Landscape of Nations, the Indigenous Veterans ceremony featured words from Cita Johnson, second lieutenant at the Canadian Armed Forces and retired officer Jessica Miller, both of whom were thanked for their service.
Miller announced the opening of her bed and breakfast, Bears Cave Bed and Breakfast, in 2024, as a result of her training in the Black Bear program.
Cita Johnson remarked how special it was to be honoured at Queenston Heights, a place where she spent a lot of time outdoors growing up.
“Queenston Heights holds a lot of sentimental value to my family,” she said.