Our Land Acknowledgement

The history of humankind is centered around cross-cultural contacts between individuals. However, this contact has too often been based on white supremacy, colonialism, and capitalism, and groups have and continue to abuse means to ensure their false dominance. 

This is the case here in Canada (recognized as Turtle Island by Indigenous peoples) and in Montreal (Tiohtiá:ke), where land has been stolen from the Indigenous people.

The violent process of colonization of Indigenous peoples by settlers resulted in the near-destruction of their culture, language, practices, and ultimately their way of life. This genocide perpetrated by the settlers over the past three centuries has rightfully deteriorated the trust between the Indigenous communities and the settlers. As a community organization, we recognize that it is our duty and responsibility to continue the process of reparations with the Indigenous communities. 

With this, we live and work on the unceded territories of the Kanien’kehá:ka people.  Tiohtiá:ke is historically known as a gathering place for many First Nations including the omàmiwininì or Algonquin people and is now home to a diverse population of Indigenous and other peoples.  

As a food security organization, we acknowledge the invaluable role of the Kanien’keha:ka in tending and protecting the land which our resources originate from. We also acknowledge our privilege of being able to live and work on these lands and recognize that this has come from the exploitation of the Indigenous communities.  The decolonizing work that The Depot is doing is merely an echo of the fight of the hundreds of First Nation, Inuit, and Metis groups leading the ongoing Indigenous resistance across Turtle Island. We aim to support this dissent by attempting to give a practical meaning to decolonizing. 

We understand that a land acknowledgement is not reconciliation but just the first step in fulfilling our responsibility as a white majority organization in beginning the process of healing with the Indigenous communities. We are aware it will take a long time to foster a bond of trust, but it is work we are committed to. We are committed to learning and in the exchange and transfer of knowledge with our NDG community. 

Lastly, this statement is a work in progress and will be reviewed yearly to reflect our ongoing journey in reconciliation. The Depot aims to progress to becoming co-resistor, in which we stand in solidarity with the Indigenous communities in resisting oppression through continuous education. Till then we invite and encourage our community to educate themselves and offer any and all feedback.


References: https://ehprnh2mwo3.exactdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Executive_Summary_English_Web.pdf

Resources:

  • Native-Land.ca’s territory acknowledgement page
    • Includes a quick intro to territorial acknowledgements, further reading, and a search bar for more information about which nation(s) territory you’re on
  • Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy Network, Indigenous Ally Toolkit
    • Comprehensive guide on terms to use (or not) and ways to show support
  • Head and Hands, Indigenous Solidarity Statement [scroll down for English]
    • An extensive statement, including their commitments, a land acknowledgement, and links for further reading 
  • Chelsea Vowel, Beyond Territorial Acknowledgements
    • Discusses the purposes land acknowledgements can have and how to do them well (or not). The comments section includes a number of Montreal-based people sharing resources.
      Note: Mona has a book, Indigenous Writes, and is happy to lend out. 
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Calls to Action
    • 94 concrete calls to action coming out of the Truth and Reconciliation hearings, many of which are relevant to our advocacy around health, education, youth, etc.
    • Call to Action #92 lays out specific responsibilities for the private/non-government sector.
  • Life Cycles Project, Vancouver, BC, https://lifecyclesproject.ca/
    • An interesting example of an urban agriculture and good food organization’s land acknowledgement on their website.