TIBA is a grassroots group led by and for the Indigenous community of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). We are proposing an Indigenous business and community district in the GTA for the many Indigenous Nations to call home with all the amenities enjoyed by other neighbourhood communities, such as Greektown, Little Italy, Chinatown etc.
The working title for our district is "Anishnawbe District Village," or "Nishtown" for short. Nishtown has been in the works since 2011, when the first grassroots group called "Red Urban Nation" (RUN) began working on a concept based on what the Native community members who live in the GTA would like to see in a district. The group was formed in 2011-12 by 8 founding members. RUN’s research paved the way for the creation of TIBA.
TIBA has been transparent about our goals to create our business district in Ward 19 along the Garrison Creek watershed with the assistance of Chief Stacey Laforme and Councillor Michael Layton. Currently, TIBA is working on its own operational functions. We are developing an organizational model of governance and facilitation based on our traditional clan systems, and we envision a core leadership team that will run the organization with support from an advisory committee of Elders to provide guidance in our activities.
We are aspiring to create, build and nourish home residences, cultural facilities, schools, language centres, and businesses in a green environment with exceptional TTC accessibility. We have chosen the area for the rich history of Indigenous trade and travel routes and cultural ties that the area holds for our people. We anticipate being neighbours with Koreatown and hosting traditional gatherings in the park of Christie Pits where our traditional medicine garden grows!
In December 2017 Chef Johl Whiteduck convened the first TIBA meeting at NishDish Marketeria and Catering at 690 Bloor Street West. 12 people attended the first meeting. By the third meeting in February 2018, Johl had negotiated an office and meeting space at CSI Annex for TIBA through a partnership with NishDish and Ojibiikaan Indigenous Cultural Network. The attendance has grown from 12 to over 50 people at each meeting, and we have now established a core group of 13 members in which all of the 7 clans are represented. The core group maintains operations of TIBA, setting meetings, creating an agenda, communications, updates, etc. A board of directors was elected consisting of 3 core members: Ramona Reece, Michael Carlson, and Johl Whiteduck.