Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that the work of the Ontario Expressive Arts Therapy Association takes place on the sacred lands and traditional territories of many Indigenous Nations, with membership across Turtle Island. Ontario (from the Huron word “kanadario” or “sparkling” water) is covered by 46 treaty areas and other agreements (such as “land purchases” by the Crown), along with traditional unceded territories. Treaties are legally binding agreements that set out the rights, responsibilities, and relationships of First Nations and the federal and provincial governments, many of which have not been upheld. Those of us living on treaty territory are treaty people. Indigenous peoples have been in relationship with these lands since time immemorial, and this land remains the ancestral home of diverse First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. Indigenous peoples continue to experience ongoing colonization and displacement– where land acknowledgements are offered in place of land itself.

Many of us have come here as settlers, immigrants, or newcomers in this generation or generations past. We also acknowledge the many people of African descent who are not settlers but whose ancestors were forcibly displaced against their will as part of the transatlantic slave trade. We honour these ancestors of African origin and descent. We also recognize those who came to these lands as refugees and migrants after being displaced from their homes due to various forms of crisis. What we now refer to as Canada was also built on the labour of many immigrant and migrant communities. From the transcontinental railroad to farming and food production, the country and its provinces heavily relied (and continues to) on the talent, skill, and hard work of racialized people. In exchange, many of them are denied residence, and they continue to go through punishing immigration experiences and perpetuating racial disparities. Many political and environmental crises around the world find their origins in colonialism.

European colonialism, through personal to systemic violence, has resulted in a great deal of harms to Indigenous Peoples – the effects of which continue today. Colonialism harms all of us, through its influence upon other forms of oppression.

As treaty people, as change makers, and as facilitators in healing relationships, we resolve to do better, in our actions and our thoughts, in order to support Indigenous self-determination, protect Two-Spirit and Indigenous people of all genders and make right with all our relations. We acknowledge everyone’s part in healing the relationship with the earth by creating belonging for all relatives, be they Animal, Element or Plant relations.

Many of us live within the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant (Gdoo Naaganinaa), an agreement between the Anishinabeg and Haudenosaunee allied nations to take only what we need, share peacefully, and to care for the lands around the Great Lakes. Others of us live within the Two Row Wampum (1612) where the agreement was to flow down the river of life in canoe alongside ship in peace and harmony and never crossing.

As we work towards right relations and sustainability, we commit to taking action to resist all forms of oppression within our lives, alongside others and in therapeutic spaces including: ableism, ageism, anti-neurodivergence, body-shaming, carcerality, cisgenderism, classism, colonialism, homophobia, monogamism, racism, religious discrimination, sexism, transphobia and xenophobia. We know this work is complex and intersectional. With humility, we admit our imperfections while taking intentional action to learn and embody anti-oppressive practices, reduce harms, and engage in processes of conscious genuine repair. A lifelong commitment to deep listening, learning, and anti-oppressive actions are necessary for our healing competencies as facilitators and therapists.

We hold awareness of the historical and present harms caused by Global Minority colonial psychiatric models and institutions. We also acknowledge that wisdoms of healing through the body, the arts, and relationships of reciprocity come from many traditional teachings in Indigenous, Black, and Global Majority communities. We honour traditional healers, land protectors, and activists for their ongoing leadership in expressive arts relational practices.

This association land acknowledgment is in a process of being continuously re(shaped), in connection with community. Please email info@oeata.ca if you have any feedback or suggestions. Please also reach out if you have any resources you would like added to our resource list. All Our Relations.

Resources


Acknowledgements and Why They Matter: https://www.camh.ca/-/media/files/camh-landacknowledgements-2022.pdf

CAMH video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbSK3tUmlds

The University of Alberta offers this video about the purpose of a land acknowledgment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXYhBml2c2I (13 min).


Library of Alberta LISSA Land Acknowledgement format: https://era.library.ualberta.ca/items/79413256-fdc7-4eb6-b3d9-97d981f6337b

Find Indigenous language areas, Treaty areas and First Nations territories here:

nativeland.ca

YWCA Land Acknowledgement

https://www.ywcatoronto.org/Assets/YWCA/Documents/About%20Us/Resources/YWCA_Toronto-LandAcknowledgment.pdf

Indian Residential School Survivor Society

Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program

Legacy of Hope FoundationIndian Residential School Survivor Society

Audio

Kuper Island, 2022

Eight-part podcast series by Anishinaabe reporter Duncan McCue. He interviews survivors and pieces together moving stories of four people who attended Kuper Island residential school.

Reclaimed with Caleigh Cardinal, CBC Listen (Radio/On Demand), ongoing

Music program based on Indigenous musicians from Canada and beyond.

Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s, 2022

Podcast series by Cree journalist Connie Walker, awarded a Pulitzer Prize and Peabody Award. “An arresting blend of family history and investigative journalism.”

Unreserved with Rosanna Deerchild, CBC Listen (Radio/On Demand), ongoing

Interview program with Canadian Indigenous voices.

Video/Movies

CBC Gem Indigenous Stories Collection

Includes films, series, short videos.

Indian Horse, 2018

Film about residential school and healing through the story of an Indigenous hockey player, based on an award-winning novel by Richard Wagamese used in Canadian classrooms. Available on CBC Gem and other streaming services.  

Tasha Hubbard, nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up, 2019

An intimate documentary about Colten Boushie, a young Cree man fatally shot by a white farmer. Witness the systemic racism of the justice system and be inspired by Colten’s family’s fight for justice. 

Alanis Obomsawin, Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, 1993

Award-winning NFB documentary considered a “watershed film in the history of First Peoples cinema.”

The Ballantyne Project, A Perspective on Canadian History You Might Not Know, 2020

The video gives two versions of Canadian history: one we were taught in our schools and the other based on Indigenous sources.

Online self-paced course

Indigenous Canada, Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta 

Free self-paced, e-learning course. It spans history and contemporary issues, filling in the gaps in our school education and providing context for the news stories of today. As a supplement, join actor Dan Levy’s discussions with course creators here.

Reading – Fiction

Michelle Good, Five Little Indians, 2020

Award-winning novel tells the stories of five young people after they leave residential school in British Columbia. The story vividly depicts how the youth, their families, and their communities were made vulnerable and traumatized. 

Reading – Non-fiction

Alicia Elliot, A Mind Spread Out on the Ground, 2019

Haudenosaunee writer “…takes her place among essayists…infusing details of her own life with sociopolitical analysis and biting wit” (Globe and Mail). On many ‘best of 2019’ lists.

Bob Joseph, 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act, 2018

The author is a master communicator to non-Indigenous Peoples about how the Indian Act has impacted the lives of First Nations Peoples historically and to this day.

Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass, 2015

A collection of essays by a Potawatomi ecologist, weaving together Western scientific knowledge, Indigenous knowledge, and her personal stories in evocative prose. The book explores our relationships with the natural world and reveals its importance to Indigenous communities.

Tanya Talaga, Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City, 2017

“Using a sweeping narrative focusing on the lives of the students, award-winning investigative journalist Tanya Talaga delves into the history of [Thunder Bay] that has come to manifest Canada’s long struggle with human rights violations against Indigenous communities.”

Richard Wagamese, One Native Life, 2008

In a series of autobiographical essays and ‘positive stories’, the author writes about his eventful and lifelong process of healing, in part so non-Indigenous Canadians can better understand the lives of First Nations Peoples. 

Indigenous Ally Toolkit, 2019 (Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy NETWORK)

Helps one use the right words and avoid missteps as we act to support Indigenous Peoples.

Reading for Children

Please see the resource lists found in Section B of this document.

Activities

Mohawk Institute Residential School Virtual Tour, ongoing

A video-recorded tour of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford, Ontario. The guide shares stories of the rooms and interviews with survivors. Followed by a live Q & A session. Upcoming tours found here

Na-Me-Res Pow Wow

Traditional First Nations’ gathering and celebration, with dance, song, socializing and honouring. Everyone is welcome at this annual June event held at Fort York.

Resource lists

Myseum of Toronto: Indigenous Resources for Allies, 2021

Lists of books, videos, podcasts, radio, documentaries, films, articles, maps, teacher’s resources, and Indigenous organizations.

Toronto Public Library: Read Indigenous

Booklists for adults, teens and children, updated annually, and selected with TPL’s Indigenous Advisory Council.

CBC Books

Booklists for adult and child readers, curated by Indigenous authors David A. Robertson, Monique Gray Smith, and Richard Van Camp.

Video/movies

Cottagers & Indians, 2020

Documentary, based on a play by Drew Hayden-Taylor, explores the complex conflicts that arise as Indigenous people assert their land and water rights in places where non-Indigenous people have cottages.

Rumble: Indians Who Rocked the World, 2017

Entertaining music documentary that shows influences of Indigenous music on American popular music. Available from streaming sources, including Kanopy at Toronto Public LIbrary. 

Jesse Wente, Towards 2067: Tracing an Indigenous Future in Canada, 2022

Acclaimed broadcaster and cultural critic reflects on the past, reconciliation and the future

National media

Aboriginal People’s Television Network (APTN), ongoing

National Indigenous television broadcaster of entertainment and news.

Online self-paced course

RAVEN: Home on Native Land, 2022

Free self-paced online course, based on conversations with prominent Indigenous scholars, artists and legal experts, and hosted by comedian Ryan McMahon. 

Reading – non-fiction

Kim Anderson et al. (eds.) Keetsahnak: Our Missing and Murdered Indigenous Sisters, 2018

An in-depth look at violence toward Indigenous women and girls, through personal, historical, sociological and activist perspectives.

Denise Bolduc et al. (eds.) Indigenous Toronto: Stories that Carry This Place, 2021

“With contributions by Indigenous Elders, scholars, journalists, artists, and historians, this unique anthology explores the poles of culture continuity and settler colonialism that have come to define Toronto…”

Canadian Geographic Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada, 2018

Comprehensive collection of articles, maps, and photographs about First Nations, Métis, and Inuit. Content overseen by federal Indigenous organizations. Inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action.

Canadian Unitarian Council Truth, Healing & Reconciliation Initiative.

Olthuis Kleer Townshend, LLP, The Ten Commandments of A Better Relationship

Law firm’s view of how to partner with First Nations to co-implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Arthur Manuel and Chief Ronald Derrickson, The Reconciliation Manifesto: Recovering the Land, Rebuilding the Economy, 2017

By a leading Indigenous activist, “…this book offers an illuminating vision of what is needed for true reconciliation. Expressed with quiet but firm resolve, humour, and piercing intellect…”

Pam Palmater, True test of reconciliation: Respect the Indigenous right to say No, 2018

Lawyer, academic, activist author explains that reconciliation is not about multiculturalism.

Daniel N. Paul, We Were Not the Savages, 4th ed., 2022

Book by Mi’kmaw Elder and Order of Canada recipient covers “the times before European colonisation, the brutal period of conquest, and the struggle for justice that continues to the present day.”

Tanya Talaga. All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward, CBC Massey Lectures Series, 2017

“…a powerful call for action, justice, and a better, more equitable world for all Indigenous Peoples”. Audio of lectures available too.

Richard Wagamese. Embers: One Ojibway’s Meditations, 2016

Brief evocative spiritual reflections grouped into seven chapters: Stillness, Harmony, Trust, Reverence, Persistence, Gratitude, and Joy.

Reports

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Reports (2015 and 2016)

Reports from the Commission, including the Calls to Action.

Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls 

Legislation

United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People was implemented with Canadian legislation in 2021.

Theatre

Read a brief history of theatre by Indigenous Peoples across Canada here

Indigenous-led theatre groups in Ontario

Native Earth Performing Arts, Toronto

Red Sky Performance, Toronto

Debajehmujig Theatre Group, from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, Manitoulin Island

NAC Indigenous Theatre, Ottawa

Local Events

City of Toronto Indigenous events, commemorations and awards

Including observances of Indigenous People’s Day and National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, with performances, sunrise ceremonies and more.

Native Canadian Centre of Toronto tours, 16 Spadina Road, Toronto.

Indigenous Tourism

There are many government and/or industry-affiliated websites offering various Indigenous-led activities, cultural events, galleries, heritage sites, interpretive centres, and museums. Below is just a sample.

Parks Canada Indigenous tourism experiences

Indigenous Tourism BC including

Indigenous Tourism Alberta including the following in and around Calgary:

Tourism Saskatchewan and Discover Saskatoon including:

Indigenous Tourism Ontario including:

Destination Ontario’s Indigenous experiences andIndigenous history and heritage

Nova Scotia’s Connect with Indigenous culture

Indigenous Yukon

Art Galleries & Museums

There are museums and galleries owned and operated by Indigenous Peoples, some listed above in the Indigenous Tourism sites. There are also extensive collections in museums and galleries set up by non-Indigenous governments. Increasingly, the latter institutions are committing themselves to returning artifacts to their rightful Indigenous owners, artifacts stolen from or purchased under duress from Indigenous communities. More are employing Indigenous curators.

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