Grey County adopts wording for land acknowledgement

·2 min read

Grey County has adopted a land acknowledgement statement after consulting local communities and looking at the use of statements in other municipalities.

A land acknowledgement should be sincere and meaningful and provide a connection to history and to those First Nations and Metis who are living in the area now, the clerk said in presenting a report to county council.

She said that it’s important to consider how to use the acknowledgement so that it remains meaningful, and continues to build connections with local First Nations people.

There are supporting practices at the county addressing involvement of Indigenous Peoples, she said, such as required consultation and also having an indigenous-led component of social services budget.

When it is possible to gather, an in-person ceremony will take place with representatives from Indigenous Peoples.

Suggested times for use are inaugural council meetings of the county and municipalities, special events and on agendas where matters impact on land and on native issues.

County Councillor Rob Potter of Blue Mountains said the statement can remain meaning when used more often, as they do in his municipality.

“We consider it very meaningful and that’s why we have it at the beginning of every meeting,” he said. “I’m not sure how we would make it more meaningful by not using it as often.”

“It’s simply acknowledging truth,” he said.

Southgate Deputy-Mayor Brian Milne, who made the motion, said of the Grey County acknowledgement: “It’s never too late to do the right thing.”

Wording of the acknowledgement:

“We acknowledge with respect, the history, spirituality, and culture of the Anishinaabek, Six Nations of the Grand River, Haudenosaunee, and Wendat-Wyandot-Wyandotte peoples on whose traditional territories we gather and whose ancestors signed Treaties with our ancestors. We recognize also, the Metis and Inuit whose ancestors shared this land and these waters. May we all, as Treaty People, live with respect on this land, and live in peace and friendship with all its diverse peoples.”

M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald