Land Acknowledgement

Acknowledging the Land

Indigenous People always acknowledge the Land we are on; we consider the Earth to be our Mother. We offer our gratitude to all of creation for continuing their role in maintaining a balanced existence. When we introduce ourselves, we share our Nation, the lands where our families are from, and the lands where we currently live. We share our clan or dodem, which describes our own role and responsibility in keeping the balance on the lands where we live.

When we travel, we offer our thanks to those Nations and peoples who receive us. We give our gratitude to those who have cared for the lands and who perform their responsibility in keeping balance on the lands where they live. When we live away from the territories of our ancestors, we carry the responsibilities with us.

Settlers, descendants of settlers, and newcomers alike can create their own land acknowledgement and outline their commitments and responsibilities for keeping the balance. Due to the history and ongoing realities of colonialism, people who are not from Indigenous communities may also outline their responsibilities and commitments to reconciliation and what they will bring to our shared table.

Here, we offer resources for staff and students at Mohawk College to create their own land acknowledgement, including thoughtful examples from staff.

Additional learning opportunities include the Indigenous Insights Microcredential, the Journey of Self Discovery PD guide (PDF) and Professional Development workshops which are offered through the Human Resources calendar.

Creating your Land Acknowledgement

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My Land Acknowledgement

I acknowledge and give thanks to the land on which we live and work, and to the people who have cared for it. This land is the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and the Anishinaabeg nations, within the lands protected by the Dish with One Spoon wampum agreement. Being able to give thanks to the stewards of the land who came before me, and being able to reflect on the meaning behind the Dish with One Spoon is an honour. I commit that I will take only what I need from the dish, leaving enough for the people who come after me. This is something I think about every time I have the chance to offer thanks to those who came before me, and who did the same for me, so that I may live on this land. With a spirit of reconciliation, I also commit to filling the dish, in learning more about Indigenous communities, and in sharing those learnings with my children, and with the people in my life.

Katie Burrows, Vice President, Students, International & Alumni

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My Land Acknowledgement

My ancestors arrived in Canada from northern Scotland just over 200 years ago, before Canada was a nation, and originally settled in Nova Scotia before migrating to Ontario in the early 1900s. The first of the McKerlie clan to settle in Ontario settled on land that was originally part of the traditional territory of various Indigenous peoples including Chippewas of the Thames First Nation; Oneida Nation of the Thames; and the Munsee-Delaware Nation who all continue to live as sovereign Nations with individual and unique languages, cultures and customs.

Today I work at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario which is situated on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishnaabeg nations, within the lands protected by the Dish with One Spoon wampum agreement, and is currently home to many Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island.

My goal today as an individual is to acknowledge those who have lived on and cared for the land from time immemorial. To express my gratitude to those who reside here, and to honour the Indigenous people who have lived and worked on and cared for this land historically and presently.

My goal today as Mohawk’s President is to ensure we do all that we can as a College to embrace the reality of our shared and checkered history and to support the recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation report. In doing so, we work to build an environment of trust and respect and to make our college a place of welcome for all people.

Ron McKerlie, President & Chief Executive Officer

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My Land Acknowledgement

Mohawk College campuses sit on the territories of the Haudenosaunee and Anishnaabeg nations and is currently home to many Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island. As someone who lives, works and plays on this land, I am compelled and humbled to acknowledge those who have come before me, those who provided stewardship on the land and continue to share the land and teachings with those of us who are Settlers. I am committed to doing all that I can towards the Calls to Action from the TRC and to reconciliation within my role and throughout my life.

Julia Hansen, Manager, Planning & Programming Services

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My Land Acknowledgement

I acknowledge that I live and work on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishnaabeg Nations within the lands protected by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum agreement, which is still home to many Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island. As a visitor on this land, I recognize how incredibly grateful I am to be here. I am committed to pushing for systemic changes and decolonization to support our indigenous learners and community. I believe we all have a responsibility to not only acknowledge the grounds on which we are privileged to live and work, but to continue to grow our learning of Indigenous histories and realities to meaningful move towards Reconciliation.

Krista Welsh, Registrar & Senior Director, Strategic Enrolment Management

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My Land Acknowledgement

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My Land Acknowledgement

We are on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabek nations.

I am a settler with ancestral ties to continental Europe.

My ancestors came to these lands three and four hundred years ago.

Their survival was dependent on the support of Indigenous peoples.

In return, they signed many treaties and agreements across this land that were never honoured. Indigenous nations were decimated with the diseases brought to this land.

Canada’s Indian Act of 1876 was designed to oppress and control all aspects of the lives of Indigenous people in this land.

Through the church my ancestors imposed their faith on Indigenous children, families and communities, without ever considering Indigenous spirituality.

They built a residential school system to “take the Indian out of the child”. Thousands of Indigenous children suffered abuse and death for more than 150 years. And the abuse continues to this day, through our criminal justice and child welfare systems.

My ancestors did not settle well on this land. The vast majority still struggle to acknowledge the truth of our colonial history.

However, the tide seems to be turning. There is an awakening underway.

Land claims are being settled. Indigenous voices are growing in strength. And a new generation of youth has been inspired to take on leadership roles in Canada.

I was initially inspired to research the truth of our history by Murray Sinclair and his leadership of the 2016 Truth & Reconciliation Commission. And its 94 Calls to Action.

I continue to learn from Indigenous writers and storytellers, and my colleagues here at Mohawk College.

And I seek to live on this land as the settler that I am, side by side, arm in arm with its Indigenous peoples.

Bryan Webber, Senior Development Officer