Why do a Land Acknowledgment?

A Land Acknowledgment is a way that people insert an awareness of Indigenous presence and land rights in everyday life. This is often done at the beginning of ceremonies, events, or meetings. It can be a subtle way to recognize the history of colonialism and a need for change in settler colonial societies.

It is a small but important first step towards reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in Canada. It affirms the inequity, inequality, and injustice faced by Indigenous Peoples, and seeks – through honest reflection – to acknowledge that all settlers in Canada are uninvited guests on traditional territory and treaty lands, which is sacred to Indigenous Peoples.

What is the Oak Valley Health Land Acknowledgment statement?

The Oak Valley Health Land Acknowledgment statement is:

Oak Valley Health honours the traditional territory of the closest Indigenous communities, the Chippewas (chi-puh-waas) of Georgina Island and the Mississaugas of Scugog Island. The Haudenosaunee (Ho-de-no-shau-nee) and Anishinaabe (Ah-nishin-ah-beh) have lived, worked and existed on this land from time immemorial. This land is covered by Treaty 13 signed with the Mississaugas of the Credit, and the Williams Treaty signed with many Mississauga and Chippewa bands. We acknowledge that Indigenous Peoples were not asked to share their territory with settler populations and that we are all here as uninvited guests. We acknowledge and thank all generations of Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island for their commitment, contributions, and protection of the land and its resources.

Contributors: Mim Harder, member of the Anishinaabe community and former staff member at Oak Valley Health; Chief Donna Big Canoe and her council, Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation; Janani Thillainathan, Joint Degree Program in Canadian Common Law and Indigenous Legal Orders (JD/JID) in the faculty of Law, University of Victoria; Andrew McConnell, First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Coordinator from the York Region District School Board and member of the Anishinabek community with roots in the Nipissing Territory; Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee members: Chaplain Don Shields, Karlene Stoby, Laura Title, Brittaney Andreychuk, Shamsad Texiwala, Alexander Khan