Celebrating Indigenous Peoples at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport

June 13, 2022

TORONTO, ON – JUNE 13, 2022 – In the spirit of National Indigenous History Month, Nieuport Aviation held an event to celebrate the partnership with the Moccasin Identifier, a First Nations-led initiative to promote public awareness of the ancestral presence of Indigenous people and communities.  

Nieuport is proud to bring four unique Moccasin Identifier pillars to the passenger terminal at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ) – the first airport in Canada to do so. The airport sits on the Treaty Lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, a partner of the Moccasin Identifier. 

“Through our partnership with the Moccasin Identifier, we are placing Indigenous history and culture at the forefront of the passenger experience at the airport” said Neil Pakey, CEO of Nieuport Aviation. “We are proud to support this great effort to promote awareness of the history and culture of the Indigenous peoples who have long called this land home.”
“The representation of Indigenous culture in the transportation sector is important in working towards reconciliation and establishing true diversity in Canada" noted the Honourable Omar Alghabra, Canada’s Minister of Transport. “The launch of this exhibit at Billy Bishop Airport will promote the rich history of Indigenous peoples and allow us to truly appreciate Indigenous culture.”
Carolyn King and The Honorable Omar Alghabra

Carolyn King, former Chief of the Mississauga's of the Credit First Nation, founded the Project with a purpose to advance treaty and Indigenous awareness, an important part of reconciliation, by “covering with Canadian moccasins.” The Moccasin was chosen to represent what connects each Indigenous person to the land. 

This partnership is the latest installation at YTZ demonstrating the ways we as airport partners are recognizing indigenous culture and history.   In May 2022, Maanjidowin: The Gathering was unveiled at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.  This large-scale granite and bronze sculpture was commissioned by PortsToronto to recognize the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and their relationship to the land, air and water on which the airport now operates. The sculpture was created by David M. General, Mohawk Nation, Wolf Clan of the Six Nations and was conceived and installed in partnership with the Mississaugas of the Credit.

“We are immensely proud of the representation of Indigenous art and culture at Billy Bishop Airport,” said Gene Cabral, Executive Vice President of PortsToronto, owner and operator of Billy Bishop Airport. “With the Maanjidowin sculpture now in place on the dock wall overlooking the city, the beautiful gallery installed in the terminal and curated by Bay of Spirits, and now the Moccasin Identifier Project in the departures area, our visitors to the airport are greeted by the rich culture of various First Nations communities.”
Maanjidowin Sculpture

Passengers and visitors alike are also able to take in a gallery of Indigenous and First Nations developed through a partnership between the Bay of Spirits Contemporary First Nations Art Gallery and Nieuport Aviation.  This gallery brings together works from artists both local to the Greater Toronto Area and across Ontario, including Ojibway, Cree and Oji Cree peoples.

Bay of Spirits Contemporary First Nations Art Gallery

About the Moccasin Identifier Project

The Moccasin Identifier aims to cover Canada in Moccasins so that all Canadians understand Indigenous relationship to land and what it means to be a Treaty partner. Through a series of free online educational content from Grades 1 - 8 developed in accordance with Ontario Educational Curriculum Requirements, children then ground their learning through an act of Treaty, by stenciling moccasins on the ground. Learn more at: www.moccasinidentifier.com

About Nieuport Aviation

Nieuport Aviation is the owner and operator of the Passenger Terminal at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. Backed by significant international expertise in managing aviation infrastructure, we are committed to world-class customer service for the airport’s 2.8 million passengers. In addition to managing the Passenger Terminal, Nieuport Aviation offers passengers a free bus shuttle service between the airport and downtown Toronto, helping to provide a seamless travel experience. For more information, please visit: www.nieuport.com

Painted Wendat Mocassins

Moccasins on the Pillars

Seneca Moccasin - Native tanned deer skin with applied beaded decoration on black velvet. Two-piece construction with textile apron inserted between forepart sides of bottom unit. Back T-seam. Lined with white and pink textile. Added black velvet collar. Native tanned deer skin, silk, thread, velvet, beads and paper. 

Seneca Nation - To learn more about the Seneca Nation of Indians - Allegany &Cattaraugus, New York, visit: www.sni.org

Haudenosaunee Community - Several Haudenosaunee communities are located in Ontario and throughout the New York State. To learn more about these communities,visit: www.haudenosauneeconfederacy.com

Anishinaabe Moccasin - Pair of eastern woodland moccasins with gathered centre front seam, decorated with red and white quills and tin cones on each shoe. Decorated cuffs are separate pieces, and have been attached with sinew thread. Quill decoration also on the centre back seam. White quill lines along front and back edge of collars have red pigment. The mishupishu design along collar has stylized reference of symbolic cross-hatching and the double peek refers to the ears of the underwater panther.

Huron-Wendat Moccasin - Black smoked native tanned deerskin embroidered moccasins. Two piece construction with deerskin apron inserted into up turned crimped forepart of the bottom unit. Back seam. Straights. Thread sewn. Attached deer skin collar with red silk binding and ties. Apron and collar embroidered in moose hair and quill dyed red, blue, green, yellow, pink, and orange with floral designs within a blue and white geometric and curvilinear border.

Huron-Wendat Nation - This nation is ancestral to the Great Lakes Region and reside north of Quebec City. To learn more about them, visit: www.wendake.ca

Cree Moccasin - These moccasins originate from the Red River area from about 1820. Two-piece moccasins have an apron inserted at the top of the foot. Quillwork is woven separately on a loom and then applied to each apron and suspended from the collars. Geometric patterns form triangles, stars, chevrons, and thunderbirds. Three bands of bird quill piping decorate the joint between the apron and bottom pieces.

Cree First Nations - There are a number of Cree First Nations located throughout Northern Ontario. To connect to a specific community, visit: www.firstnation.ca



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