Depending on how an acknowledgement is said, I sometimes feel it could be perceived as token. I have started to appreciate when people deviate from the standard script by giving thanks or adding personal context. That said, to date, on the occasions I have made an acknowledgement, I myself have not deviated. I appreciate this course for helping me to start thinking about what that deviation may look like. The next time I have the opportunity, I might try something like:
I would like to acknowledge that we are on the traditional territory of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council.
I was born and raised in Richmond Hill, a town in Southern Ontario. I have only recently learned that these were the traditional territories of the Wendat, the Haudenosaunee, and the Anishinaabe peoples. My maternal and paternal great grandparents left Scotland in the early 1900s, in search of a better life for their families.
I want to thank the people of Kwanlin Dün First Nation and Ta’an Kwäch’än Council for allowing us to raise our family on their beautiful lands.
I was in a workshop last fall when I was first asked to situate myself in the world. It saddened me to acknowledge my lack of connection to my family history, but it also inspired me to identify my ancestral connections. The statement above would be very authentic for me, as choosing to move to the Yukon to raise our family on these beautiful lands was a very intentional decision.
Thank you for deviating from the script and taking the time to know more about your ancestors. By adding some of these personal details and sharing them with us, you are telling your story and making relationship building that much easier.
It was a pleasure to read,
Hey Susan, I too appreciated the deviation because I worry about "ticking the box." I have a super practical question. How did you learn to pronounce the tribal names? I haven't yet tackled the Coast Salish version of the tribes in my area (and in fact am still researching how to find this out... the layers are slowly unfolding.)
Hi Susan and all,
In your acknowledgement, I really like the way you integrated your learning process in your self-location and plan to model this in my own future statements. I also appreciate how you both open and close with acknowledgement and gratitude to the local First Nation. It's a nice, simple way to keep the focus on the actual acknowledgement rather than digressing too much into one's own roots, which is something I worry about because I have the reverse issue of knowing a wealth of details about my ancestral connections.
In response to Nancy's question about learning to pronounce local First Nation and place names, one resource I've been using is A Guide to Pronunciation of BC First Nations (print text) and today I found this First Voices media-rich website, which includes the Straits Salish language of Sencoten, along with many others across Canada and bordering States.
Thank you!! One thing I notice here in Washington is that by long standing habits we have been mispronouncing Tribal names without even knowing it. And those memory habits need breaking.
Thanks all for the feedback. Nancy, regarding your question about pronunciation, you raise a really good point. I thought the same thing when I discovered the names in Ontario. As it is the approved acknowledgement for the Town of Richmond Hill I wonder if I could call the town office and ask? Further digging required! Thanks again.