Welcome video from Erika Kustra – Chair of EDC [VIDEO LINK FROM ERIKA]
Welcome video from Denise Stockley – Chair of STLHE [VIDEO LINK FROM DENISE
What does the Chair of the EDC do? [VIDEO LINK FROM ERIKA]
It is our custom in Canadian universities, particularly in recent years, to acknowledge the land on which we work, study and live. However, since this conference is being held online we are not on one particular location, instead we are distributed across Canada and around the year. As Celia, Vice Chair Conferences and many of the conference team are located in Toronto we would like to share the land acknowledgement we make at York. The video below, also from York, explains the purpose and background to land acknowledgements. Participants are invited to consider their own position with regard to the land where they find themselves, and the people who share and have shared this land in the past.
We recognize that many Indigenous nations have longstanding relationships with the territories upon which York University campuses are located that precede the establishment of York University. York University acknowledges its presence on the traditional territory of many Indigenous Nations. The area known as Tkaronto has been care taken by the Anishinabek Nation (a-nish-na-bek), the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (ho-dee-no-sho-nee), the Huron-Wendat, and the Métis. It is now home to many Indigenous Peoples. We acknowledge the current treaty holders, the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. This territory is subject of the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement to peaceably share and care for the Great Lakes region. (from: http://ireworkshop.laps.yorku.ca/land-acknowledgement/)
In performing land acknowledgment, we make what was invisible visible, and invite the land, the First Nations people, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) into our conversations. This act of naming – of inviting something into language – is an underlying principle of advocacy and lies at the heart of higher education. The etymology of advocacy is ad (to add) + vocare (call or voice): the origin of the word’s meaning is to give voice to something or to call out in order to initiate dialogue. The “ad” prefix makes explicit the importance of multiple voices – and by extension multiple perspectives. In this sense, advocacy compels us to acknowledge a diversity of thoughts and opinions as a starting point rather than as an ideal outcome. In institutions of higher learning, we have a responsibility to honour spaces for emerging and established voices to engage in productive, respectful, and sometimes even uncomfortable conversations where individuals are safe to speak truth to power, explore and challenge dominant ideologies, and call out injustices and inequalities in order to imagine new ways of existing. Our learning journeys cannot be successful without Aboriginal justice and reconciliation. Our journeys can be parallel. And on this land, we shall learn, work and advocate with our energies in solidarity.
You may also be interested in this critique: Apihtawikosisan’s 2016