When territorial acknowledgments were first included in events organized by settler communities, they were powerful statements of the ongoing presence of Indigenous people and of Indigenous history, surprising and maybe even unwelcome, in settler spaces. They were intended to provoke questions and recentre Indigenous ways of being and thinking.
Why is this important?
Indigenous Peoples have been clear that all Indigenous economic, social, cultural, political and civil rights derive from their connection to and use of lands, waters and territories. This means that unlike settler Canadian understandings of land rights as being merely connected to individual freedoms and economic production or assets, Indigenous understandings of land rights relate territory to self-determination, identity, spirituality and religion, language, culture and collective responsibilities.