Description: Learn about the territorial acknowledgement's meaning and how to adopt this uniting ritual.
Date: May 31, 2022
Making a territorial acknowledgement is an act of reconciliation, and so much more.
- It's a way to honour the land and the Indigenous presence that goes back several thousand years.
- It's a way to help heal the hurts of colonialism and its dramatic consequences, and to demonstrate respect.
- It's an important reminder of the existence and the legitimacy of Indigenous governance.
- It's a simple gesture that nurtures healthy and just relationships.
Lead by example and kick off your official event or informal meeting, virtually or in person, with a territorial acknowledgement.
- Start by identifying the territory where you are.
- Include all of the Indigenous Nations that are present there.
- Respect the different cultural preferences:
- for First Nations, use the expression "traditional or ancestral territory";
- for Métis, use "territory"
- and for Inuit, the practice of territorial acknowledgement does not exist
- Check local resources to be sure you correctly identify the Indigenous communities, their protocols and the treaties in effect in your area.
- Make the acknowledgement meaningful. Beyond the words, it is the sentiments and the true intention that are truly the most important.
Here is one personalized example:
"My name is Jeannette Proulx and I am on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg. You might know it as Ottawa. Wherever you find yourself today, I encourage you, in turn, to think about the presence of the Indigenous Peoples, past and present, who call these lands home."
The sincere practice of territorial acknowledgment means reflecting on the past while also looking ahead to advance the process of reconciliation.
To learn more, consult the Indigenous Learning page of the Canada School of Public Service website.