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It's the Least you can do

Land Acknowledgments can lack action, they can be a box to tick, or a way to seem progressive without having to really do anything at all.

As Settlers we can miss the point. Without addressing ongoing issues or doing proper research about the local Indigenous communities these Land Acknowledgements can become performative and repetitive. Expressing words without feeling the meaning behind them is literally the least you can possibly do, except to just not do it at all.

Land Acknowledgements are one of the ways to demonstrate commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions 94 calls to action. Available here in totality.

We can’t change our past and we can’t fix what happened but we can do better, and in order to truly do better we need to seek understanding of what happened to the original stewards of this land, and educate ourselves on Canada’s true history. Education begets understanding, and understanding creates new perspectives and empathy, which creates solutions, a better future.

It all starts with one person doing the hard work.

Free course through the University of Alberta;

Steps for creating a sincere Land Acknowledgement;

Educate Yourself: Start by learning about the Indigenous history, culture, and current issues of the local Indigenous communities in your area. Understand the history of colonization, treaties, and the impact on Indigenous peoples.

Identify the Territory: Find out the traditional territory or territories on which you reside. You can do this by reaching out to local Indigenous organizations, consulting online resources, or attending local events or workshops.

Acknowledge Specific Nations: Mention the names of the Indigenous nations or tribes that traditionally inhabited or continue to inhabit the land. Be precise and accurate in your acknowledgment.

Humble and Respectful Language: Use humble and respectful language in your acknowledgment. Avoid making it sound like a mere formality or checklist item. Express gratitude for the opportunity to live or work on this land.

Acknowledge History and Treaty Relationships: Acknowledge the historical and ongoing treaty relationships between Indigenous peoples and the government. Recognize that many Indigenous peoples were forcibly removed from their land and continue to face systemic injustices.

Reflect on Your Role: Reflect on your own role and responsibilities as a guest on this land. Consider how you can contribute to reconciliation and support Indigenous communities.

Keep It Concise: Land acknowledgments should be concise and to the point. Avoid lengthy speeches or overly complex language.

Practice Pronunciation: If you are unsure about the correct pronunciation of Indigenous names or terms, take the time to learn and practice them. Pronouncing them correctly shows respect.

Involve Indigenous Voices: Whenever possible, involve Indigenous community members in the creation and delivery of the acknowledgment. Their input and guidance can make it more authentic and meaningful.

Regularly Update: Keep your land acknowledgment up-to-date. Land acknowledgments can change as you learn more about the history and current status of Indigenous communities in your area.

Incorporate Into Events and Gatherings: If you're delivering a land acknowledgment at an event or gathering, make it a standard part of the program. It can be the opening statement or a recurring feature at meetings.

Promote Action: While land acknowledgments are an important first step, they should be accompanied by meaningful actions. Consider how your organization or community can support Indigenous initiatives and causes.

Respect and Follow Local Protocols: Different Indigenous communities may have specific protocols or customs regarding land acknowledgments. Be sure to respect and follow these protocols if they exist.

Continual Learning: Commit to ongoing learning and engagement with Indigenous issues. Reconciliation is a long-term process, and your understanding should continue to evolve.

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