Traditional Territory

Land Acknowledgement

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.

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.

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. 

Truth and Reconciliation at McGill

For information about the ways McGill is working towards reconciliation, please visit the Calls to Action page, hosted by McGill's Indigenous Initiatives Unit, which discusses McGill's Truth and Reconciliation report, published in 2017. For information about McGill University's role in the history of colonization, please visit a resource page called McGill's History with Indigenous Peoples.


McGill's Indigenous Initiatives Unit, run by the Office of the Provost, provides an extensive resource page where all of your questions about land and peoples can be answered.

Hochelaga Rock

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. 

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