Posted by John Currie, Executive Director Honouring Indigenous Peoples

We receive a lot of questions regarding land acknowledgements. Indigenous peoples have acknowledged their surroundings in statements long before the arrival of Europeans. Acknowledgments reference the people of the land and include specifics like the water, ancestors, animals, and plant life......

A land acknowledgement is offered as a heartfelt meaningful gesture of respect and reminds us of the responsibilities we have to our relationships, including to the land and each other. Land acknowledgements provide a way to:

•    accurately and historically recognize the territories of  First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples
•    honour Indigenous Peoples’ principal kinship to he land and recognize our shared responsibilities
•    Acknowledge un-ceded lands, wampum belts and other treaties that were signed by the government on our behalf and are still in place today

We discourage quickly downloading a land acknowledgement or simply listing numerous Indigenous communities from across Canada as this risks offending the very people you are trying to honour. It is important that when giving a land acknowledgement, that you have done your homework and recognize those specific Peoples on whose land you currently have the privilege to be on. For example, one would not thank the Mi'kmaq if you are standing on the traditional lands of the Mississaugas. Each region and territory are unique. We strongly encourage you to seek local Indigenous guidance.

If meeting by zoom, one should recognize the region or territory they are hosting the meeting from and then allow participants the opportunity to acknowledge the lands from which they are participating from. 

Offering a land acknowledgement provides a moment to pause and reflect on how we came to be together at this place and time, and can help guide us as we move forward in our conversations and in our actions.