JICS Land Acknowledgement
The new Land Acknowledgement we recite before each assembly and community gathering was brought to life by the students in last year’s Grade Six cohort during 15 classes focusing on Indigenous history and culture, with the facilitation of our teacher-librarian Krista Spence who is guided by Elder Andrew Wesley and Indigenous educator (and author of JICS’s teacher resource: Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition), Doug Anderson. It was presented with pride and excitement to our community at the Class of 2019 Graduation Ceremony by the graduates.
While this Land Acknowledgment will evolve over time with new students, staff, families, and with further consultation with local Indigenous Peoples, we thank the Class of 2019 for taking this learning to heart, growing it passionately, and sharing such a beautiful piece of it with the wider community.
The JICS Land Acknowledgement:
We begin with Acknowledgement of the Land because we will be using the land and need to respect this place where Indigenous people have lived and continue to live. We wrote this to share some of our learning, and to teach others. We thought about who would be hearing it, and we didn’t want to make it too complicated, or too simple.
We would like to thank the First Peoples of this land and all of Creation, including the animals, plants, land, water, air, rocks, trees and all that exists on this beautiful Earth.
We honour the Indigenous people whose traditional territories include the land on which we gather today: the Petun, the Wendat, the Anishinaabe, including the Mississauga of the Credit, the Haudenosaunee, and other Nations, whose names we no longer remember because of the impact of colonialism.
We want to honour the Treaties that were made with the Land and between First Nations and the Crown. Treaties should be honoured no matter what political party is in power.
The story of Canada that most of us know is not the whole story. We have been learning from Indigenous sources about losing language and culture through residential schools, and also about ceremony, celebration and strength of community.
When we are thinking about doing something to the land, like dams or pipelines, we should ask Indigenous people first, because they lived in balance with nature for thousands of years. We have lost our relationship to the earth by doing things like polluting and taking too much.
We need to ask ourselves:
What is more important, what I get out of this, or what happens to the land?
We need to think seven generations ahead:
What we do today, how will that affect tomorrow?
We invite you to do the same.
A Note from teacher-librarian, Krista, about the Land Acknowledgement:
Our Land Acknowledgment will be used as long as it is useful to the learning of those who are listening. The current students want to update it, and ensure that it is a teaching tool that brings to light elements of Indigenous perspectives to the greater community.
We are committed to a continuous conversation, deepening relationships, and exploring all ways that Indigenous ideas are not just placed within our context, but become part of our context.
The Land Acknowledgment work was informed by the following sources that the students explored. I invite you to review and reflect on your understanding of the importance of Land Acknowledgement.
A. Land Acknowledgments that are used by various public schools, universities and colleges.
B. Hayden King, Executive Director of the Yellowhead Institute, explains Treaties and his frustration with the Land Acknowledgment that he wrote:
Hayden explains Treaties https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6niWvsqV_oM
C. Article that educator Hopi Lovell Martin wrote in the York Region Nature Collaborative, guiding educators to craft their Land Acknowledgements
D. Video of the JICS Community ‘Natural Curiosity’ Book Launch:
Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Associate Professor, Native Studies, University of Manitoba, (beginning at the 38 minute mark) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2qvyepEwDA#action=share
Land Acknoweldgement by Michael White, Ceremonial Conductor, Bear Clan, Anishinaabek Nation, who gave thanks to ancestors, the ones who have been connected to this place, those who have passed on and become the earth, and made reference to the Nations without number, because of the destructive impacts of colonialism, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2qvyepEwDA#action=share (the beginning)
E. Additional resources for learning about our approach and some of our Treaty partners: