Land Acknowledgments have become more and more common in recent years and can be a great place to start as an ally for Indigenous communities and peoples. The term "ally" is defined by Sheree Atcheson as "any person that actively promotes and aspires to advance the culture of inclusion through intentional, positive and conscious efforts that benefit people as a whole." You can read more about allyship here.
We encourage you to carve out some time to either start or deepen your allyship for Indigenous peoples and communities to move towards reconciliation. If you’re just starting out on this journey, we recommend you start off by figuring out whose land you’re on.
Mi’kmaw Place Names Digital Atlas
This resource is an interactive map with place names throughout the part of Mi’kma’ki that we call Nova Scotia, created based on interviews with Mi’kmaw Elders.
“Native Land Digital strives to create and foster conversations about the history of colonialism, Indigenous ways of knowing, and settler-Indigenous relations, through educational resources such as our map and Territory Acknowledgement Guide”
This link will take you directly to the interactive map. This map is great place to start. The key word here is start. By entering your location, you will be shown more information about the territory, treaty, and language, as well as resources to expand your learning.
Native Land also has an app available and an Instagram page so that you can expand your allyship and learning as you move through different Indigenous territories.
Native Land is known for their interactive map and app but it does not stop there. They have many other valuable resources available on their website.
Acknowledging whose land you are on is important; however, land acknowledgements can quickly become token gestures rather than meaningful practice. Land acknowledgments must be accompanied by commitments and action items to create change.
This interview with Hayden King, the executive director of the Yellowhead Institute, a First Nation-led research center based at Ryerson University, is an example of how land acknowledgments can easily become token gestures.
A Guide to Indigenous Land Acknowledgments
The Native Governance Center's Guide to Indigenous Land Acknowledgments speaks to the importance of Indigenous land acknowledgements, gives tips for creating your own land acknowledgment, and goes through steps you can take beyond land acknowledgments to ensure that they do not become token gestures. Native Governance Center also shares valuable information on their Instagram page.
Key Word: Start
This is not a comprehensive list of resources or information surrounding land acknowledgments; however, as we mentioned before, it is a good place to start. In Brianna Julian's article, The Importance of Land Acknowledgments she states that "no matter how big or small your inclusion may be, where you perform a land acknowledgement or how often you perform one, these efforts are part of a larger practice of reconciliation. There is no going back now, we cannot change history, but we can collectively work towards a better future for us all. We need to move forward together and in order to do this, reconciliation must guide the way."