For the past year, through ICA’s Indigenous Journey project we have been asking deep questions, reflecting on the answer to those questions, and thoughtfully planning a path forward. As an immigrant and refugee serving organization, we understand our responsibility to educate newcomers on the history of Indigenous peoples and the heavy impacts of colonization and to build stronger relationships with Indigenous people.
ICA is committed to deepening our relationships with Coast Salish peoples on whose territories we work to help newcomers establish their new lives. With the guidance of Called to Action Collaborative, we are pleased to share ICA’s territorial acknowledgment:
We acknowledge the Coast Salish Nations on whose traditional territories we do our work to support immigrants and refugees in the Capital Region. We are grateful to live, work and learn here, and we honour the Nations who have always cared for these lands, waters and air and continue to do so today.
Our main office is located on the traditional territories of the Lekwungen-speaking First Peoples, the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations. Our services extend into the territories of approximately 20 First Nations in the Capital Regional District.
What is a Territorial Acknowledgement?
Territorial land acknowledgements have been used since time immemorial as a way of identifying and acknowledging which First Nation’s protocols would govern interactions. This acknowledgement signifies recognition of the original stewards of the land and their special connection and history in relation to that land.
Today, the Territorial Acknowledgement is also a way to contribute to the work of truth and reconciliation.
A Territorial Acknowledgement does not mean that other people are not welcome, and if asked, most visitors would be graciously welcomed by First Nations people. It simply acknowledges upon whose land someone is on at that moment.
Why do a Territorial Acknowledgement?
A land acknowledgement shows respect and recognition for the First Nation or Nation group whose traditional lands you are on and also demonstrates an honouring of the connection between that specific First Nation and the land. It also shows a commitment to understanding the history of Indigenous peoples.
When does ICA do a Territorial Acknowledgement?
Generally, ICA will offer a land acknowledgement at the beginning of a meeting, gathering or class.
Who does a Territorial Acknowledgement?
Usually the meeting host or facilitator will offer the land acknowledgement, but anyone can do it. However, if you have someone in the room who is Indigenous to the lands that you are on, you may want to ask them beforehand if they would like to do the acknowledgement.
For more Information:
If you want to learn more about how to acknowledge the traditional land you’re on you could explore the following resources:
- Listing of some of the First Nations in the Capital Regional District (website)
- Indigenous Peoples’ Atlas of Canada (book)
- First Peoples’ Cultural Council First Peoples’ Map (online map)
- BC Government’s First Nations Pronunciation Guide (online guide)
- Contact your local Nation for guidance
If you would like to learn more about ICA’s continuing Indigenous Journey project, contact Sheryl Sackman, email@example.com.
We welcome your questions.
*This information was developed in part by the Called to Action Collaborative as part of the ICA Indigenous Journey Project and generously funded by Canadian Heritage.