Land Acknowledgements are becoming an increasingly common practice when hosting events and activities across Canada. This acknowledgement can be made before a class presentation, conference, or event, but can also be made in a written document or on a website. Here is an example acknowledgement:
"McGill University is situated on the traditional territory of the Kanien’kehà:ka, a place which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst nations. We recognize and respect the Kanien’kehà:ka as the traditional custodians of the lands and waters on which we meet today."
Tips for Land Acknowledgements
Here are a few tips to remember when making a land acknowledgment before an event:
- Know the pronunciation before you get to the mic – We live in the age of information. If you have no one to ask, google, phonetic spelling and YouTube are all easy options.
- Acknowledge the past as well as the present – Historic presence is an important factor in land acknowledgements. However, acknowledgement of continued and current presence is equally as important. Using language that insinuates Indigenous presence is of the past is harmful, not healing.
- Take a moment to reflect on what these words mean – Reflect on what ways your work and/or life contributes to the respect this acknowledgment is intended to illuminate. Can you think of examples from your own life? Work place? Community?
- Make the acknowledgement your own - Reading word-for-word from a scripted acknowledgement can feel stiff and insincere. This goes hand-in-hand with reflecting on what the words mean: if you take the time to think about the meaning and impact of the acknowledgement, it is easier to speak from a place of sincerity in the moment.