Oh Canada, Our Home and Native Land
I wasn’t born in Canada but since 2002 have considered it my home. A few years ago, I noticed that events were being opened by acknowledging that “we recognize that we are able to celebrate on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the Coast Salish Peoples”. Why were people opening events this way? Why now? Why hadn’t I realized that we were living and conducting business on unceded land? What is unceded anyway?
Here’s a good explanation that a friend shared:
The word Traditional is used to recognize how land was traditionally used or occupied by Indigenous peoples.
The word Ancestral describes land that is handed down from generation to generation.
A Territory is the geographic area identified by indigenous people as the land they and/or their ancestors traditionally occupied and used.
The word Unceded means that indigenous people never “ceded” or legally signed away their lands to the crown or to Canada. They were taken.
95% of British Columbia, including Vancouver, is on Unceded Traditional First Nations Territory.
Territorial acknowledgements are one small part of disrupting and dismantling colonial structures. They are the start of an opportunity to reflect on the impacts of colonialism.
Credit to @katie_jameson for writing this out so nicely. The journey to equality and a better community starts by stopping, listening, learning and having respect for others. I’m not perfect but I hope to continue to become a better person on my path in life and I hope you’ll do the same. 🙂