Okanagan College's official land acknowledgement from
CAUT is: “We
would like to begin by acknowledging that the land on which we gather is the
unceded territory of the Syilx (Okanagan) Peoples.”
Though I appreciate having an example set, it is a bit sterile. I would like to amplify it a bit and deviate from that script.
I thank the Syilx (Okanagan) Peoples for welcoming us on their unceded territory.
[I would also like to add a more personal acknowledgement and tell a bit of my own story:]
I was born of settlers from France, Ireland, and Scotland. My mother’s family first settled in Quebec and my female ancestors were “daughters of the King”. I was raised in Northern Ontario in Robinson-Huron Treaty territory and Atikameksheng Anishnaabeg traditional land. My studies continued on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishnaabeg, and Haudenosaunee Peoples.
My first job was at Saint Boniface University, the homeland of the Métis Nation. I walked to Louis Riel’s tomb on a weekly basis to remind me of injustices done by settlers and ancestors alike. I have started to learn the importance of place and am learning the value of humility and listening in reconciliation. I am now a settler on Okanagan lands and I am fortunate to be greeted here.
Hi Leslie -
Thank you for sharing your story. I feel like your weekly walks while at Saint Boniface represent quite a concrete example of foregrounding the "truth" in truth and reconciliation. I'm inspired by this example. Do you have similar places/reminders or perhaps elders or colleagues who you seek out at Okanagan College as a way of continuing to learn about these truths?
I really like your personalized version as it made me think of official land acknowledgements in a different light. The focus is still on acknowledgement of the lands but also includes the fact that you feel welcomed on them and come from a place of gratitude.
Thank you for also sharing your own story.
Like others have commented, I like how you are weaving key elements of your own cultural self-location and learning together with an acknowledgement of the traditional Indigenous territories/lands where you have lived in a simple, clear way. Some things you mention also happen to have personal cultural resonance for me like the "filles du roi" and St. Boniface, which is near my childhood home.
About your observation that the official Okanagan College land acknowledgement feels a bit sterile, I wonder if it might be appropriate to include any information from this First Voices website somewhere in your own acknowledgement.
Thank you, Donna!
That's a great suggestion -- including information from First Voices would certainly make the acknowledgement more meaningful. I am also meeting with local Elders next month and will try to include some of the things that I will learn through them in future acknowledgements.