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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

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Mr. Gary Edgar

Mr. Gary Edgar

Doctor of Laws, honoris causa

We are proud to confer upon Mr. Gary Edgar the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. He exemplifies the qualities the university strives to instill in all graduates – to challenge, innovate and connect.

He has used his leadership skills and passion to advance First Nations rights and to overcome significant challenges facing his community. It was this passion that led him to be elected as Chief of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island (1993-1997). As Chief, he negotiated hunting and fishing rights for the First Nation, established processes toward First Nations Self-Government and created local employment strategies both on and off-reserve. His efforts also helped to develop a retail storefront in downtown Port Perry, Ontario that raised the Band’s profile in the surrounding community and eventually led to the creation of the only licensed charitable gaming facility in Ontario.

His diplomatic skills unified his community and paved the way to make the Great Blue Heron Charity Casino a reality. To this day, the casino provides employment for members of First Nations and non-First Nations communities, as well as financial support for the Band. He also led the creation of the casino’s charitable arm – the Baagwating Community Association – which oversees the distribution of Great Blue Heron’s charitable funds. The Baagwating Community Association supports numerous local charities.

For his years of service he has received numerous awards, including the 1992 Governor General’s Medal for Contributions to Canada, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for community service in 2012, as well as a Lifetime Achievement award in 2012 from the First Nations Gaming Association.

His influence and tenacity have had a tremendous impact on the building of social capital between the Scugog First Nation and the Durham Region community. For his inspirational leadership, benevolence, passion and dedication to enriching the lives of so many others, it is an honour to present Mr. Edgar for the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.