Know the Land Territories
WHAT IS A LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT?
A Land Acknowledgement is a formal statement that recognizes the unique and enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories.
WHY DO WE RECOGNIZE THE LAND?
To recognize the land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation to those whose territory you reside on, and a way of honouring the Indigenous people who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial. It is important to understand the long standing history that has brought you to reside on the land, and to seek to understand your place within that history. Land acknowledgements do not exist in a past tense, or historical context: colonialism is a current ongoing process, and we need to build our mindfulness of our present participation. It is also worth noting that acknowledging the land is Indigenous protocol.
WHOSE LAND ARE WE ON?
In Windsor-Essex we are on the traditional territory of the Three Fires Confederacy: the Ojibwa, Odawa, and the Pot-awa-tomi.
HOW DO WE ACKNOWLEDGE THE LAND?
“We acknowledge that we are on the traditional territory of the Three Fires Confederacy: the Ojibwa, Odawa, and the Pot-awa-tomi peoples”
MOVING BEYOND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Although it is important to acknowledge the land, it is only a first step. We are all treaty signers, and are thus responsible and accountable for the violence that Indigenous people face. Allyship is a continuous process; it is not a designation that one can earn and hold forever. It is also not a label one can give themselves, but one you earn from your actions and commitment to standing in solidarity.
Allies must continually engage in self-reflection, and must consistently work at being an ally (through learning, acting in a de-colonial manner, and sustaining relationships with Indigenous Peoples, etc.)
Here are some simple ways you can begin the ongoing and continual process of acting in solidarity with Indigenous folks in Canada:
• Learn: About oppression and privilege. About the history of colonization. About Indigenous peoples and cultures. About the land you live on. To listen. There are many books, blogs, documentaries, Independent media sites, plays, and songs that Indigenous people have written and performed that are great places to start learning.
• Build relationships: Building relationships is a very important aspect of standing in solidarity.
• Act: Be accountable towards Indigenous people and communities by affirming the importance of what they’re saying, aligning oneself with the struggle, and speaking up when something problematic is said.
Want to learn more? Sources and Resources:
http://caldwellfirstnations.ca Acting Chief Robin Perkins
http://narf.org Native American Rights Fund
http://niwrc.org National Indigenous Women's Resource Center
Before you state a Land Acknowledgement, Mean It
**Content and territory information was gathered in collaboration with the Laurier Students' Public Interest Research Group (LSPIRG)**