Letter to the Editor – Acknowledgement of Indigenous Land


Dear Editor,

I am pleased to read Zara Zrudlo’s contributions to the NG Times, especially their March 16, 2023 piece, Heritage. Their response to Lorraine Rekmans’ letter regarding the acknowledgement of Indigenous land reinforces my long-held opinion. Listening to land acknowledgements read or recited before any number of meetings, I wondered who, including the listeners, understands the statement.

The words are meaningless to many as evidenced by the absence of Indigenous heritage in the Heritage Week issue of this paper. There are readers who will balk when I write, this is our home on native land. Those who recoil have not heard nor understood the acknowledgement recognizes the historical and contemporary presence of Indigenous people in North Grenville.

The Legal Aid Ontario Webpage succinctly states, land acknowledgements must be personal, heart-felt, and honest. Fulfilment of the acknowledgement requires understanding. Understanding we are on the path of learning about Indigenous history, culture, and contemporary issues. Understanding the purpose and what we hope to achieve in delivering a land acknowledgement. Understanding the power of a land acknowledgement is essential to establishing healthy, reciprocal relations while respecting and recognizing Indigenous People. The individuals giving the land acknowledgment must be able to cite their organization’s work toward understanding, truth, and reconciliation.

Rote recitations and cold readings of the land acknowledgement can be a misunderstood stew of verbiage. All too quickly, since the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission final report in 2015, the land acknowledgement has become a tired paternoster. 

Michael Whittaker


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