Understanding land acknowledgements, their history, and their importance

Our path to reconciliation includes listening, learning, and creating opportunities for education and participation within GSU. On the last Tuesday of each month we will be sharing information that we hope will contribute to a shared future of reconciliation.

Understanding land acknowledgements, their history, and their importance

TMM – Oct. 26, 2021

To kickstart the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour’s 65th Annual Convention, the Saskatchewan vice-president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Dodie Ferguson, hosted a workshop called “Making Land Acknowledgements Matter”. It was an impressive workshop that helped all participants better understand land acknowledgements, their history, and their importance.

If you have never participated in a land acknowledgement, they are formal statements made at the beginning of events taking place on land originally inhabited by or belonging to indigenous peoples. For example, a common one-breath land acknowledgement could be something like:

“As we gather here today, we acknowledge we are on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis. We pay our respect to the First Nations and Métis ancestors of this place and reaffirm our relationship with one another.”

Land acknowledgements are meant to recognize and respect indigenous peoples as the original stewards of the lands on which we now live. These acknowledgements are not meant to place blame or make anyone feel guilty.

Though the statement is short, it serves an important purpose: it is a recognition of an intimate relationship between the place and people, and demonstrates an awareness of Canada’s history with and treatment towards Indigenous people. What we learned growing up or in school might contradict what is being taught today. As we uncover new information and learn more about an issue, the issue evolves. The challenging part is evolving with it.

Learn more about land acknowledgements here:

GSU is building a truth and reconciliation lending library. If you have resources you would recommend for our library or are interested in borrowing a book, contact staff rep Mason Van Luven at Mason@gsu.ca.