New College Student Council meetings begin with reading aloud a land acknowledgment statement. We maintain this practice because it is our duty to always remember the significance and reason for reading the land acknowledgment — to acknowledge whose traditional land we are on, and to stand up against colonialism and systemic oppression.
We read the acknowledgment to pay our respects to the indigenous people who have been living and working on this land long before settlers. Colonialism is not just an issue of the past, and continues to oppress indigenous populations today. NCSC has chosen the following land acknowledgment statement over other available versions because it is important to us that we reflect, genuinely understand, and continue to spread the message that indigenous people are around us everyday. We hope to engage in reflection, understand that allyship is an ongoing process and responsibility, and know that acknowledging and showing gratitude for this traditional land is only the first step to reconciliation.
In everything that we do, we must actively acknowledge the oppression and violence faced by indigenous people today and commit to including the narratives of indigenous peoples in our collective decision-making for social justice and equity. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Land acknowledgement statement
NCSC would like to acknowledge this sacred land on which the University of Toronto operates. It has been a site of human activity for over 15,000 years. This land belonged to the Wyandot people in pre-colonial times, before changing hands several times from the Haudenosaunee, the Neutral, the Wyandot-Tionontati, and finally ending with the settling of the Anishinaabeg Mississaugas. The territory consists of ceded land, covered under the Toronto Treaty 13 of the Upper Canada Land Surrenders, and the Williams Treaties, as well as unceded land that continues to be contested.
Today, Toronto is the home to many Aboriginal peoples, including First Nation Status Indians, Non-status Indians, as well as Metis and Inuit peoples from across the continent. We can never work to end systemic and institutional violence if we do not center the narratives of Aboriginal peoples in our collective decision-making for social justice and equity. As settlers on this territory, we directly benefit from a colonial culture that has overseen the genocide, systematic oppression, and exploitation of Aboriginal peoples. In order to engage in resistance and solidarity against the injustices inflicted on the Aboriginal people of this land, it is imperative we constantly engage in acts of awareness and decolonization. We would also like to pay our respects to Aboriginal leaders and traditional teachers both past and present, and to any of those who may be here with us today: physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
A note on wording
The Wendat is a confederacy of Iroquoian-cultured indigenous tribes. “Huron” was a nickname given to the Wendat by the French and it means “boar’s head.” They named them this to describe the hairstyles of Wendat warriors, believing that they resembled boars. Thus, the word “Huron” can be described as a slur and is not necessary when referring to the Wendat (“Wendat,” not “Huron-Wendat”)