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Land Acknowledgement

What is a land acknowledgement?

A land acknowledgement is a cultural protocol that offers a formal statement about the current and historical Indigenous presence on, stewardship over, and land rights within a particular territory.

Who should give land acknowledgements?

This practice is not, and should not be confused with, a 鈥渨elcome to territory statement,鈥 which would be given by a member of an Indigenous nation whose territory an event is being held on. A land acknowledgement should ideally be delivered by non-Indigenous people at an event, and should illustrate that the person delivering it has taken the time to reflect on their relationship to the land and/or their commitment to action toward Indigenous rights.

How to give a meaningful land acknowledgement?

A meaningful land acknowledgement is personalized, both to the speaker and to the specific event where it is being delivered. Part of what land acknowledgements should do is point to the speaker鈥檚 connection to the land, their commitment to Indigenous rights, how Indigenous rights and ways of knowing, being, and doing are related to the day鈥檚 events, and/or their invitation to others at the event to make a commitment to Indigenous peoples and communities. It is meant to recognize the history and ongoing impacts of colonialism in the specific time/place where the event is taking place. There are some ideas below for how you might personalize a land acknowledgement. Before doing doing so, a few things are helpful to get you started:

  • Do some research about the territory and the Indigenous nations whose territory you are on. If you are unsure where to start, you can always use websites like .
  • If you are unsure how to pronounce the name of an Indigenous group or nation, search for a pronunciation guide. For Niagara College, the updated land acknowledgement below includes a pronunciation guide.
  • If you are organizing an event, take some time to consider and research the connections between the event鈥檚 focus and Indigenous rights and ways of knowing, being, and doing.

When to give a land acknowledgement?

A Land Acknowledgement should be done at the start of ceremonies, public events and lectures or courses. It is a way to begin the event by raising awareness of Indigenous presence and rights.  

Niagara College鈥檚 Land Acknowledgement

Niagara College acknowledges that we are gathered on the shared traditional lands of the Anishinaabe (pronounced: ah-nish-naw-bay) and Haudenosaunee (pronounced: ho-deh-neh-show-nee). We offer our sincere gratitude to them as the stewards of this land, which is protected by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum agreement鈥檚 three principles: to take only what you need, leave enough for others, and always keep the dish clean. Today, many First Nations, M茅tis, and Inuit communities from across Turtle Island continue to live and work in this territory. Acknowledging the peoples whose territory we are on, and the agreements that guide their stewardship of the land, reminds us to reflect on and respect their unique relationship to this land. It also is an invitation for all of us to identify and engage in actions that respect and reinforce our commitments to Truth and Reconciliation and Indigenous Rights, including the Colleges and Institutes Canada Indigenous Education protocol.*

*Note:

At this point, as the person giving the land acknowledgement, you can take a moment to link your own connection to this territory AND/OR connect to the theme of the day to raise awareness of any relevant current affairs or data. For example, you could say something like: Did you know XX Indigenous languages are endangered? Or use this as an opportunity to highlight the work of an artist or change maker from this territory. It is also a good moment to think about the ways that you (either personally or in your work at the college) are taking steps toward any of  or toward helping 兔子先生 meet its commitments to the .

Additional Resources for Learning

Dish with One Spoon
More about Dish with One Spoon:

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) PDF

Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Colleges and Institutes Canada Indigenous Education Protocol

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