Culture

Land acknowledgements: their importance, and why they should be standard within your company

Jun 23, 2022
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3
min read

June is National Indigenous History Month.

Not only is it a time to commemorate the heritage and resilience of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples across Canada, it’s meant to recognize, understand the purpose of, and act on bringing forth meaningful truth and reconciliation. 

We also recognize that as a company working hard to help others take good care of their people, our commitment shouldn’t be confined to these 30 days. There’s way more to it than a shared company-wide statement and a few resource links.

At Humi, we acknowledge that the responsibility to respect, learn, and understand the unique perspectives of Indigenous Peoples doesn’t stop once July hits – so our equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) committee has introduced a land acknowledgement initiative to carry the sentiments and learnings from this month into the rest of the year. 

We want to preface by saying we aren’t experts, and this is largely new to us, but we realize the importance of incorporating this into our day-to-day as a small step in the ongoing journey to reconciliation. We also understand that there may be other Canadian companies looking for actionable ways to continue the conversation beyond the month; recognizing that you want to take these steps toward meaningful reconciliation is a good first step. Here's what you can do right now.

What is a land acknowledgement?

A land acknowledgement is a formal statement that recognizes the unique and enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories. Traditional territories are lands that have been used for traditional purposes of Indigenous populations, and usually but not always, have an accompanying map to highlight their boundaries. 

Land acknowledgements are often spoken at large events, such as public gatherings, ceremonies, and meetings, as well as on websites and/or emails, in an effort to pay respect to the original holders of the land. 

What is Humi’s intention?

Humi is introducing land acknowledgments to be spoken at our company-wide, monthly meetings, and in individual team meetings if they choose to do so, as a way to recognize our commitment to truth and reconciliation and to forge a better understanding of the challenges faced by Canadian Indigenous populations and the lasting impacts of colonialism. 

Our intention is not to present the land acknowledgments as a pro forma statement, read before getting on with the “real business” of meetings; these statements are shared to Humigos with the hope of truly showcasing Humi’s beliefs. The land acknowledgements are a sincere extension of our core values: honesty, integrity, individuality, improvement, ownership, and, of course, caring about people. 

Land acknowledgements per region 

These are the statements shared with our team – we’re providing them here as a resource for other companies looking to take that next step. The land acknowledgements are provided per region, so Humigos can kick off meetings with the statement linked to where they reside. 

Toronto/GTA

“As we seek reconciliation and a new relationship with Canada’s First Peoples, one based on honour and respect, we acknowledge their oppression and struggles for justice and that we gather on the unceded territory of the The Haudenosaunee (Hoodt-en-oh-SHOW-nee), the Anishinaabeg (ah-nish-naw-bek), the Chippewa, and the Wendat peoples, and most recently, the territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. We are grateful to have the opportunity to work in the community and on these traditional lands. We are not here to simply utter names and move on, we are here to recognize our point of departure: we start by honouring our hosts, the struggles they have endured and continue to endure to this day, and everything that we have been privileged with on their account.”

Ottawa

“As we seek reconciliation and a new relationship with Canada’s First Peoples, one based on honour and respect, we acknowledge their oppression and struggles for justice and that we gather on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg. We are grateful to have the opportunity to work in the community and on these traditional lands. We are not here to simply utter names and move on, we are here to recognize our point of departure: we start by honouring our hosts, the struggles they have endured and continue to endure to this day, and everything that we have been privileged with on their account.”

Manitoba/Winnipeg

“As we seek reconciliation and a new relationship with Canada’s First Peoples, one based on honour and respect, we acknowledge their oppression and struggles for justice and that we gather on the unceded territory of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation. We are grateful to have the opportunity to work in the community and on these traditional lands. We are not here to simply utter names and move on, we are here to recognize our point of departure: we start by honouring our hosts, the struggles they have endured and continue to endure to this day, and everything that we have been privileged with on their account.”

Halifax/Nova Scotia

“As we seek reconciliation and a new relationship with Canada’s First Peoples, one based on honour and respect, we acknowledge their oppression and struggles for justice and that we gather on the unceded territory of the Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People. We are grateful to have the opportunity to work in the community and on these traditional lands. We are not here to simply utter names and move on, we are here to recognize our point of departure: we start by honouring our hosts, the struggles they have endured and continue to endure to this day, and everything that we have been privileged with on their account.”

Vancouver/BC

“As we seek reconciliation and a new relationship with Canada’s First Peoples, one based on honour and respect, we acknowledge their oppression and struggles for justice and that we gather on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. *We are grateful to have the opportunity to work in the community and on these traditional lands. We are not here to simply utter names and move on, we are here to recognize our point of departure: we start by honouring our hosts, the struggles they have endured and continue to endure to this day, and everything that we have been privileged with on their account.”

Montreal/QC

“As we seek reconciliation and a new relationship with Canada’s First Peoples, one based on honour and respect, we acknowledge their oppression and struggles for justice and that we gather on the unceded territory of the Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk). We are grateful to have the opportunity to work in the community and on these traditional lands. We are not here to simply utter names and move on, we are here to recognize our point of departure: we start by honouring our hosts, the struggles they have endured and continue to endure to this day, and everything that we have been privileged with on their account.”

Additional resources

To learn more information about Indigenous history and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we encourage you to visit the Canadian government website for National Indigenous History Month.

For a complete guide to Indigenous land acknowledgements, visit The Native Governance Centre website.

For an in-depth look at the perspectives of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians on reconciliation, visit the Reconciliation Canada report.

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