5 approaches to making a heartfelt land acknowledgement
To thoughtfully prepare an in-depth acknowledgement requires time and care. As we engage in processes of reconciliation it is critical that land acknowledgements don't become a token gesture. They are not meant to be static, scripted statements that every person must recite in exactly the same way. They are expressions of relationship, acknowledging not just the territory someone is on, but that person’s connection to that land based on knowledge that has been shared with them.
What may have started out as push-back against the denial of Indigenous sovereignty and continued presence, often ends up repurposed as a “box-ticking” exercise without commitment to any sort of real change.
5 Step Guide
The purpose of this guide is to provide guidance for speakers, business leaders, community organizers, teachers, and facilitators who want to thoughtfully recognize the Indigenous Nations upon whose territory they are working or holding events.
This step-by-step guide outlines key considerations and provides examples to take the territorial acknowledgement from a stiff recitation to a in-the-moment, sincere and heartfelt moment of reflection and commitment.
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Land Acknowledgements: from recitation to real
“If we think of territorial acknowledgments as sites of potential disruption, they can be transformative acts that to some extent undo Indigenous erasure. I believe this is true as long as these acknowledgments discomfit both those speaking and hearing the words. The fact of Indigenous presence should force non-Indigenous peoples to confront their own place on these lands.” – Chelsea Vowel, Métis