Before we begin, I would like to acknowledge that this is performative



"Before we begin, I would like to acknowledge that we are in Mi'kma'ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi'kmaq people. This territory is covered by the blah, blah, blah, I know you're no longer listening to this statement and you've completely zoned out..."


Generally speaking, Land Acknowledgments are performative. Many organizations use this two- to three-sentence, copied and pasted statement they found in a 30-second Google search. It is read verbatim at every conference, event, and staff meeting moving forward. Halfway through, people typically stop listening because they have heard it a thousand times before, or they simply do not care. Even I have zoned out more than a dozen times. As cliche as it is, I can probably recite this thing in my sleep. I also see it on organizations' websites and at the foot of company emails every. single. day.


Do you know what I do not see? Do you what makes this performative?

The lack of originality.

The lack of humanity.

The lack of reconciliation.

The lack of ACTION.


As the old adage goes, "actions speak louder than words," and this especially rings true when it comes to Land Acknowledgments.


You have to ask yourself what you are doing to reconcile this country's wrongdoings. What has your organization accomplished in this regard? If you have yet to make any changes, what do you plan to do in the future?


Will your organization implement one (or more) of the TRC's 94 Calls to Action? Will you work to honour sections of the UNDRIP that align with your business values? Will you start to, or continue to, work with Indigenous organizations on pressing issues in your community?


Land Acknowledgments are only a small piece of the puzzle when it comes to reconciliation. Even the most thoughtful, well-written statements are only scratching the surface when it comes to doing the right thing. Reconciliation is exhausting. It is a lot of work, and it takes a lot of time. You have to be comfortable with the fact that you will get uncomfortable. You will be called out, corrected, and redirected. Even when you correct your actions, and think you have done everything right, you will continue to be told how to improve and do better. Understand that those correcting you are simply trying to help you, even if their approach is unfavourable. This is all a learning journey and one that takes a lot of patience. Remember to practice due diligence and know that if your approach is authentic and sincere, it will be seen, heard, and felt.


M’sit No’kmaq (All My Relations).




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