As a School, we encourage acknowledging the traditional land where we hold classes, events, meetings and conferences.
Acknowledging territory recognizes both the history and the presence of Aboriginal people and our relationship to the land on which we gather. It pays respect to the cultural and spiritual traditions which are tied to the land and the knowledge that has been shared with us, while challenging the legacy of colonialism.
The University of Alberta has developed acknowledgement statements and guidelines for use on Treaty 6 territory. This was done in consultation with the Council on Aboriginal Initiatives and Town Halls, and they’ve been reviewed by Indigenous faculty and staff.
When making a territorial acknowledgements, follow these tips:
Begin with the acknowledgement
To start things off in the right way, the first person to speak at your gathering should make the acknowledgement.
If you’re not sure, ask
If you’re uncomfortable making an appropriate acknowledgement, the University’s prepared statements and guidelines are a good place to start. If you have questions or concerns, use the Indigenous Initiative contact on this page to be directed to more resources.
Invest time to understand who and what you are speaking about so that your statement is genuine. Shana Dion, assistant dean, First Nations, Metis and Inuit students, suggests reading Indigenous Writes by Chelsea Vowel, or taking the University’s Indigenous Canada massive open online course.
Making an acknowledgement is not a “housekeeping” announcement. Put your understanding, heart and sincerity into the words when you speak this important message.
Practise makes perfect
If you’d like to honour all who inhabited and continue to live in the area, learn how to pronounce tribal names correctly.
These tips have been adapted, with permission, from a Folio article, How to do a territorial acknowledgement