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Understanding Land and Labor Acknowledgements

What is a land acknowledgement?

Land acknowledgment is a traditional custom that dates back centuries in many Native nations and communities. Today, many non-native organizations and institutions have developed a land acknowledgement statement, often read at the start of formal events, to recognize and respect Indigenous Peoples as the original stewards of the land on which we now live and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their territories. 


Why is land acknowledgement important?

"To recognize the land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation to those whose territory you reside on, and a way of honoring the Indigenous people who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial. It is important to understand the long standing history that has brought you to reside on the land, and to seek to understand your place within that history. Land acknowledgements do not exist in a past tense, or historical context: colonialism is a current ongoing process, and we need to build our mindfulness of our present participation." -- LSPIRG


"To acknowledge the traditional territory is to recognize its longer history, reaching beyond colonization and the establishment of European colonies, as well as its significance for the Indigenous peoples who lived and continue to live upon this territory, and whose practices and spiritualities were tied to the land and continue to develop in relationship to the land and its other inhabitants today" -- University of Alberta

#HonorNativeLand Video

About Land Acknowledgements

Articles & Books on Land Acknowledgement


Leduc, T. B. (2018). “Let Us Continue Free as the Air”: Truthfully Reconciling Social Work Education to Indigenous Lands. Journal of Social Work Education54(3), 412–425.

Wilkes, R., Duong, A., Kesler, L., & Ramos, H. (2017). Canadian university acknowledgment of Indigenous lands, treaties, and peoples. Canadian Review of Sociology, 54(1), 89–120

Curley, A., & Smith, S. (2020). Against colonial grounds: Geography on Indigenous lands. Dialogues in Human Geography10(1), 37–40.

Blenkinsop, S. (2020). Land, language and listening: The transformations that can flow from acknowledging indigenous land. Journal of Philosophy of Education. 54(4): 1033-1046

Asher, L., Curnow, J., & Davis, A. (2018). The limits of settlers' territorial acknowledgments. Curriculum Inquiry, 48(3), 316.