Traditional Territory

McGill University is located on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. McGill honours, recognizes and respects these nations as the traditional stewards of the lands and waters on which we meet today

L’Université McGill est sur un emplacement qui a longtemps servi de lieu de rencontre et d’échange entre les peuples autochtones, y compris les nations Haudenosaunee et Anishinabeg. McGill honore, reconnaît et respecte ces nations à titre d’intendant traditionnel des terres et de l’eau sur lesquelles nous nous réunissions aujourd’hui.

* Haudenosaunee (h oh - D EE - n oh - SH oh - n ee ) and Anishinabeg (Ah-nish-ih-nah'-bey)

The Significance of Acknowledging Traditional Territory

A connection to the land is inextricably linked to Indigenous identity. Historically, the cultural protocol of acknowledging traditional territory symbolizes the importance of place and identity for Indigenous peoples. Within many Indigenous communities, protocol requires that individuals situate themselves, and their relationships to the people and the land. For many Indigenous peoples in Canada, and increasingly in broader Canadian society, traditional territory acknowledgements are an important cultural protocol practised at ceremonial events as a way to acknowledge and honour Indigenous peoples’ connections to their ancestral lands.

Role of the Institution

Many post-secondary institutions across Canada have adopted policies that institutionalize the acknowledgement of the traditional territory at major events, such as convocations, new student, staff and faculty orientations, and award ceremonies.

Acknowledging the traditional territory ensures:

  • Recognition is given to the land’s history in order to strengthen and cultivate relationships with the local Indigenous communities;
  • The institution’s community is exposed to and educated about Indigenous histories, cultures, and identities;
  • A welcoming space for Indigenous students, staff and faculty.

We encourage McGill students, staff, and faculty to learn more about the lands they currently live on. For more information on traditional territories and languages, check out these resources.

The Native Land website is a work in progress dedicated to mapping the territories, languages, and treaties of Indigenous nations respectfully.

The Wampum Chronicles is a website curated by Darren Bonaparte, from the Mohawk community of Ahkwesáhsne, which features his research into the history and culture of the Rotinonhsión:ni—the People of the Longhouse. Check it out to read lots about the history of "Montreal" and surrounding areas.

At the left of the Roddick Gates stands the Hochelaga Rock, established by Parks Canada to commemorate the Iroquois settlement that stood on the very land that McGill sits on today. To learn more about the rock and the land McGill sits on, click here.

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