This place is my home. I live in the Qu’Appelle valley and this has become home to me. I was raised here. I live on this land and it has played a role in who I have become. I have made countless memories here. This place brings me an abundance of joy. (especially in the autumn when the valley comes alive with colours of red, orange and yellow 😍 )
It is troubling to know that on this very spot, many years ago, the beginnings of tragic, continued injustices occurred. The land that I have grown to love, and is a huge part of my life, is not even mine to begin with. This is why land acknowledgement is so important.
Honestly, I always thought that people included a land acknowledgement at the beginning of their presentations because it was polite and expected to do so. I thought is was politically correct, so I adopted the practice for that reason. For fear of being offensive. There was no personal connection to the land I was acknowledging, at least I didn’t think there was. I was just mindlessly reciting a few words that included “Treaty four territory” and I continued on with the presentation I was giving. I wanted to do what was right, even if I didn’t know why it was right. Recently, I have been challenged in my way of thinking about land acknowledgment. This acknowledgement can have a personal connection to my life and this land. I have been fortunate to grow up on Treaty four territory, home of the Cree, Saulteaux, Nakota, Lakota and Dakota peoples, and the Métis people. I have made a life for myself here and none of that would have been possible without wîtaskêwin and the graciousness of these peoples , sharing their homes with us, white setters. I would not have a home if it weren’t for this land, so I feel that it is imperative that now that I know better, it is my responsibility to acknowledge this land as belonging to someone else.
This acknowledgement recognizes the relationship between Indigenous peoples, their territory, the settlers & their descendants (ME). Being aware of such relationships and being willing to acknowledge them on a regular basis is one step towards reconciliation. For some, taking this action can be a conversation starter, to share Canada’s history with others.
In class, we were challenged to create our own land acknowledgement and to make it person. Here is my take on it:
“The land that I am currently on is Treaty four land. I want to acknowledge that this land does not belong to me, but has become a part of who I am. It belongs to the original inhabitants of this land. The Cree, Saulteaux, Dakota, Nakota, Lakota & the Métis peoples have shared their home with us and we are fortunate enough to continue living together and build our lives on this land. Our past does not define our future, and together we can move forward in reconciliation and to uphold kihci-asotamâtowin (sacred promises to one another)”
Until next time,