In November 2016, Guelph City Council began offering a Territorial Acknowledgement at the beginning of each Council meeting.
Statement of acknowledgement
As we gather, we are reminded that Guelph is situated on treaty land that is steeped in rich indigenous history and home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis people today.
As a City we have a responsibility for the stewardship of the land on which we live and work.
Today we acknowledge the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation of the Anishinaabek Peoples on whose traditional territory we are meeting.
Explanation of statement
- The first sentence provides the context that the history does not start at the point of European contact. It begins long before and includes the Anishinaabe, Attawandaron, Haudenosaunee and Métis peoples, and continues to the present day.
- The second sentence refers to the role and responsibility of the City as present day steward of our public lands and natural resources.
- The third sentence recognizes that today the people of Guelph reside on Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3 Territory which was signed between the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and the Crown in 1792.
Context and intent
Canada has entered into a period of reconciliation. The federal government’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report of December 2015 contained 94 calls to action to further reconciliation between Canadians and Indigenous Peoples. It contains the government’s commitment to a renewed nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples based on recognition, rights, respect, co-operation and partnership. The TRC report has spurred organizations, businesses and provincial and municipal governments across the country to parallel the federal government’s commitment through a variety of initiatives that speak directly to their immediate communities.
Through a motion of Council on June 29, 2016, the City of Guelph has expressed intent to do its part by developing a statement that recognizes the traditional territory in which we live and work and that acknowledges the presence of Indigenous Peoples from the past through to the present. This document is intended to provide City of Guelph elected officials and staff with a statement of territorial acknowledgement and a guide for putting the acknowledgement into practice.
The City of Guelph is continuously learning about the rich and complex histories of Indigenous peoples in this area and is working to refine how the organization can better understand and acknowledge Indigenous peoples, Nations and cultures that have and continue to contribute to the area known as Guelph.
Development and acknowledgement
City staff met with several First Nations, Inuit and Métis community leaders and elders to draft the territorial acknowledgement. The group reviewed examples of existing acknowledgements from various organizations, universities, municipalities, and the Province of Ontario. From the start it was recognized that the process itself held value as it created a path to new conversations that will serve to build deeper awareness and strengthen relationships within our community.
Our understanding and reflection on belonging in this land continues to grow through listening and learning from Indigenous communities, and this land acknowledgement will change over time with those new learnings.
A review of the Territorial Acknowledgement is underway. For more information, contact [email protected]
What is territorial acknowledgement?
A territorial acknowledgement starts with the land: it’s about acknowledging the land we reside on and honouring the relationship between the land and the people living and thriving here long before settlers arrived. It offers an opportunity to pay respect to ancestral and traditional territories; be mindful of our collective role as stewards of the land; and build awareness of present-day Indigenous culture in our community.
Use of acknowledgement
The acknowledgement may be used by the Mayor or designate at the start of public meetings of council and at civic celebrations and other official events, as deemed appropriate, that are either hosted and/or supported by the City. The acknowledgement may be printed, spoken, projected, or posted on the City of Guelph website.
For a territorial acknowledgment to be meaningful, it is important that it is delivered with a sense of purpose and authenticity.
The City recognizes that various terms may be preferred over others, and that preferred terms can change over time. The City’s practice will be to honour First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in our community with the terms they wish to be identified.
For more information
Danna Evans, General Manager
Culture, Tourism and Community Investment
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2621