I would like to begin our day by acknowledging the Syilx (Okanagan) peoples and their traditional unceded lands where we are meeting today. I come from a place of respect and gratitude to be living, working, and learning on these beautiful lands.
I am a settler on these lands, and have been a visitor here for nearly three years. On my mother’s side, my ancestors came from England, Scotland and Ireland and on my father’s side my ancestors came from England and France.
Thanks Sarah! I hadn't thought to put the length of time I've been here (on southern Vancouver Island) in my acknowledgement, but it makes sense. How I experience this place as someone who has been here for a decade now (with four years in the middle spent over on the mainland), versus when I was a new arrival makes a big difference.
Thank you, Derek and Sarah.
I agree about the length of time -- being a visitor is different than settling in an area as well. I will be sure to consider this going forward. It's not only about place, time matters too.
Sarah, Thank you also for including your gratitude as you did. I would like to incorporate such words (and meaning) in my future acknowledgement.
So interesting to reflect on the length of time in a place - OF COURSE that influences our starting points and understandings. I hadn't reflected deeply on this choice - honestly, I was trained to introduce myself in this way in a previous course (TTW at Camousn College, a wonderful in-house training for employees.)
In that course, we were also trained to use the word visitor (settler wasn't suggested as an option). To call myself a visitor felt initially quite jarring for me, as it meant realizing for the first time that I had been a visitor for over 20 years on the traditional lands of the Lekwungen, W̱SÁNEĆ and Esquimalt peoples. Now I regularly think about myself as a visitor on all the lands I've lived on, and it helps me to remember that this land is not mine/ours, and to treat it with due respect, gratitude and care.
Hi Sarah -
When reviewing your acknowledgement, I was struck by the hopefulness and helpfulness of your opening phrase - "I would like to begin our day....".
It seems to me that, even if an acknowledgement is shared at the beginning of a specific event or gathering at a specific time, the message that it conveys can and might impact those who hear it at other times and places subsequent to that gathering. Your phrasing really helps to extend your acknowledgement beyond the specific meeting or event and into whatever time or space that your audience might choose to take it, after their interactions with you. Thank you for bringing that spirit of invitation to your post - so helpful!
Thanks for sharing your reaction, Maureen. I think that's what I liked about that wording too. I want to remember the spirit of invitation, and bring it to all my efforts at decolonizing my corners of the world.