group photograph of Tract Collective members

For CAFKA23, the Tract Collective is amplifying the work of Protect the Tract, a Haudenosaunee-led initiative that conducts research, policy development and develops capacity for civil engagement on issues facing the Tract.

Protect the Tract will be producing programs focussed on growing understanding, community connections, and a sense of belonging to, and for the Grand River. Stewardship of the Grand River is expressed through the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784 which sets aside six miles on either side of the Grand River to the Haudenosaunee ‘which them and their posterity are to enjoy forever’. The Grand River extends for over 300 km through what is currently known as Southern Ontario. 

The agreements made between our ancestors are inclusive, based on mutual respect, sharing, and collective peace.  These agreements are entrenched in the The Haldimand Tract through its place in the ‘common bowl’  which is at the heart of the Dish Treaty.  This agreement speaks to the way in which the land’s resources should be cultivated in order to preserve its continued health, to harvest its resource equitably amongst those who live within it and to harvest conservatively to ensure its continued health for coming generations.

The Grand River is a part of the vascular system of the earth and its health is vital to our survival.  We are responsible to it and to the generations that will follow us and rely upon it. The waterways of the river, its vitality and dignity, which is so vital to our own health, is being exploited and subjugated by the paradigm of private exploitation for capital and now even the colonial governments’ checks to support environmental stewardship and community planning are being stripped of capacity and jurisdiction.

In 2021 the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs’ Council declared a Moratorium on Development to reset these relationships and to force discussion on what the future of the Haldimand Tract should look like.  It is now up to us to inform our governments on what we want for this future and to hold them to account for their responsibilities to future generations.

So, what should stewardship and good governance look like in the Grand River Watershed?  What are the opportunities to counter these narratives and to develop alternatives in how we form our communities, govern our land use and behave as stewards? 

What does the future look like moving forward as we understand the unique history of the Haldimand Tract and attempt to reconcile the land thefts and violence our governments perpetrate through their development strategies?

How will we stop the destructive, unsustainable path we are on, and return to the principles and responsibilities that enable us to live with future generations central to our thinking?  

Protect the Tract has developed these programs to support the relationship building necessary for our common future. 


Community Hub

On Saturday, June 17th and June 24th The Kitchener Market will host the first in a series of community hubs that will be set up across the Haldimand Tract by Protect the Tract.  These hubs will be focused on generating space for autonomous action by creating relationships and providing resources. The vision for the hubs is for residents of the communities to find alignment between their own communities' needs and Haudenosaunee sovereignty and land stewardship.

The first weekend at the hub will be focussed on Food Security, Land Stewardship and Ecological Health. The Second weekend will be focussed on civic engagement, Haudenosaunee sovereignty and Allyship though conversations and connections are welcome throughout.

The hub hosts a drop-in Seedbomb tent where participants can fill clay balls with local, indigenous seeds for propagation in the Tract.  This activity is a prompt for discussing strategies to counter the pressures on biodiversity and food sovereignty while producing a tool for action that is decentralized and empowering at an individual and community level.  Participation for the seed bomb production is on a drop-in basis during the open hours of the market.


Tract Collective has also initiated a collaborative beaded project to represent the Haldimand Tract as a part of their knowledge mobilization activities. In the fall of 2022, a call was made for Haudenosaunee beaders to participate and through a residency at the University of Waterloo’s Longhouse Labs, the beaders were supported through consensus building, knowledge sharing, and map making activities to decide on their process and approach to the proposition of a beaded map.

Beaders chose to embrace and continue to emphasize process and relationship building through their work.  The map has now become a catalyst for related resurgence projects at Six Nations including beading workshops for youth, hide tanning and other seasonal specific community activities.  The beaders are focussing on the Tuscarora style of raised beading for their work and have been building on their knowledge base by exploring collections and works that speak to the context and the trade of materials used in their creation.    

On Wednesday, June 21th and Saturday June 24th the beaders of this project will be hosting workshops where participants will bead their own map, or traditional motifs of Tract flora and fauna.  Materials developed through the beading project will be on hand.

The nature of the activity offers opportunities for engagement, with connecting with others, storytelling, sharing community, culture, and reflection.  The beading workshop will be 1.5-3hrs in length and take place on a sign-up basis.

All materials will be provided to participants and a limited number of extra kits will be available for those who visit the community hub at the Kitchener Market.


Participants will be introduced to the fundamentals of beading as well as Haudenosaunee beadwork traditions and practices.  The Beaders leading the workshops are from a group collaborating on a large, beaded map of The Haldimand Tract. “Bead the Tract” will be a document of Haudenosaunee laws and perspectives on the land and water but as a greater project places emphasis on process and relationship building.  The project has found its form through knowledge sharing, consensus building, map making exercises and resurgence activities.  Some of the materials from the project’s development will be on hand to explore during the beading sessions and this emphasis on process and relationship building is extended into the public workshops where participants bead their own map of the Haldimand Tract, or a motif from the Tract’s Flora or Fauna.  The beading workshop period will likely be 1.5-3hrs in length and take place on a sign-up basis.  All materials will be provided to participants and a limited number of extra kits will be available to those interested.

It was designed to emphasize process, foster relationships and build community resources, capacity and connection. 

Tract Collective is an interdisciplinary collective of artists and activists who have come together to express and honour our connection to the Grand River. Our collective operates within the Haldimand Tract, a portion of the Haudenosaunee territory affirmed in the Beaver Hunting Grounds Treaty of 1701, the Two Row Wampum, Covenant Chain, and Dish Treaties. These treaties form our approach to collaborative and participatory decision-making processes.

The collective is guided by Haudenosaunee ways of being; our work is anti-colonial, grounded in Haudenosaunee history and futures. Activities of the collective emphasize ancestral and community knowledge in order to propose actions, community engagement strategies, and future research related to land stewardship, governance, and Indigenous-settler relations in the Haldimand Tract and the Grand River Watershed.    

For CAFKA23, the Tract Collective is amplifying the work of Protect the Tract, a Haudenosaunee-led initiative that conducts research, policy development and develops capacity for civil engagement on issues facing the Tract.


Tract Collective Programming is presented in partnership with Longhouse Labs. 

longhouse labs logo