(click on the title for the full document and examples of acknowledgements appropriate for our area)
Guidelines and rationale:
In First Nations tradition, it is customary for members of visiting nations to acknowledge the host Nation. In keeping with this practice, acknowledgement of First Nation territory is becoming the norm at the beginning of meetings and events. In doing so, we acknowledge the ties between the First Peoples and their land - and its importance to their culture, ceremonies, and traditions. It also recognizes a relationship that has existed long before the founding of Canada or BC.
(Adapted from: https://www.ictinc.ca/first-nation-protocol-on-traditional-territory)
Why do we Acknowledge Territory?
When opening an important event or function, we acknowledge the traditional territory of the local Indigenous people (First Nation, Métis or Inuit) who have occupied this land since time immemorial.
How do we Acknowledge Territory?
Any school district staff can acknowledge the traditional territory. Only the Indigenous people who live on that territory or are originally from the territory would welcome people. The host of the event is the person to acknowledge the territory. It is not necessary to have an Indigenous person from the territory do this. For larger, more formal events, it is proper protocol to have an Elder or designate from the host Nation to perform an Opening or a Welcome, if possible. Again, the host would acknowledge the territory and the Elder or designate would welcome the guests. Typically, an honorarium is given to the Elder for their time and their support.
When would we acknowledge territory?
It is performed at more formal functions such as:
- Board Meetings
-Important meetings or presentations
- Opening new facilities
- Celebrations which include Indigenous communities
What is the proper order of acknowledging territory and people?
1. Acknowledgement or Welcome is the first item on the agenda.
2. Order of introductions by level of government:
- Indigenous Chief or designate
- Elders and other honoured guests
- Mayor or designate
- Trustees and/or other elected officials
Acknowledgements typically have the following elements:
1) “Acknowledge” rather than “welcome”. Welcoming is reserved for members of the local First Nation.
2) “Shared”: in the Alberni Valley, there is an overlapping history of land and resources used by the Hupacasath and Tseshaht First Nations that lived and continue to live in this area.
3) “Unceded”: indicates there is no treaty associated with the traditional territory (Alberni and Tofino).
4) “Traditional”: much of the land is not within current reserve land, but historically would have been used by particular First Nations and recognized as such.
5) “Territory”: a broad region associated with one or more First Nations.
6) Hupač̓asatḥ, Tseshaht, Huuayaht, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ, and the Tlaoquiaht: are nations that have lands that falls within the boundaries of the Pacific Rim School District.
7) Hupač̓asatḥ and Tseshaht: unceded shared traditional territories in the Alberni Valley. Huuayaht: ceded lands (treaty nation) in the Bamfield Region. Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ: ceded lands (treaty nation) located in the Ucluelet area. Tlaoquiaht: unceded territory in the Tofino area.
8) “Work, play, learn”: acknowledgement statements usually make some reference to how
the land is being used.
9) “Ancestral”: this word is sometimes used instead of or in combination with “traditional”.
10) “ha-houlthee”: The chiefly territories of Nuu-chah-nulth ḥawiiḥ (chiefs).