What are land acknowledgements and why do they matter?

15 Nov What are land acknowledgements and why do they matter?

Chances are, you’ve seen or heard a land acknowledgement at some point in the past few years. Maybe this was during the introduction to an art, sporting, cultural, academic or civic event, or at one of the 160 Toronto bus shelters that now ask transit users to think about who first lived on the land they’re commuting across. We know that Columbus did not discover the Americas, nor did the other European seafarers who preceded him. This land was—and still is—Turtle Island, already inhabited for well over 10,000 years by thriving traditional territories, bands and confederacies of Indigenous people. And we’re still here, in spite of intense and prolonged attempts by church and state to assimilate and colonize Indigenous peoples into white/Eurocentric society. But maybe you don’t totally understand why land acknowledgements are so important. That’s understandable—we can’t know what we weren’t taught, right? So, here’s what you need to know.

Indigenous writer Selena Mills illustrates the importance of land acknowledgements—and shares perspectives about this newly popular form of reconciliation.