Purpose: Every public session in Canada should start with a land acknowledgement - at a minimum - in this era of reconciliation. By beginning our meetings and workshops with an acknowledgement of the land on which we’re meeting, we are calling attention to the need for more awareness, engagement and collaboration around reconciliation in Canada, which we are all a part of.
Materials: Enough chairs in a circle for every participant.
Time: 5-30 minutes.
If possible, try to involve the local First Nations community where you are holding the event. Having an Elder do a smudge to open and close the event is one way to model awareness, engagement and collaboration. If it isn ’t possible to involve First Nations communities, a land acknowledgement should come from the facilitation team in the welcoming of the group.
It might go something like this:
“We [I] would like to begin by acknowledging that the land on which we gather is the traditional unceded territory of the Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) Mi’kmaq, and Passamaquoddy peoples. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship” which Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet), Mi’kmaq and Passamaquoddy peoples first signed with the British Crown in 1725. The treaties did not deal with surrender of lands and resources but in fact recognized Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) title and established the rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations.
As we are gathered in this space, it is important to acknowledge that we are part of an ongoing story of immigration to this land and reconciliation with the first peoples of this land. We have the luxury of being able to focus here (on a particular challenge), but out there - in the real world that awaits us on Monday - the challenges we face aren’t their own neat, bounded systems. They are part of larger economic and immigration systems which are part of larger socio-cultural systems, which are part of larger political systems, which means that what we do here matters. Because what we do here ripples out into those larger systems. So I ask you to hold that intention of reconciliation as we move through the programming, and always put people and planet at the centre of your work.”