I’d like to acknowledge that basically all of my work happens on unceded territories belonging to various Indigenous peoples, and wouldn’t be possible without the land I’m sustaining myself upon.
The primary land I work on is the territory now colonially known as Montréal, QC. The Kanien’kehá:ka Nation is recognized as the traditional custodian of the lands and waters of Tiohtià:ke, which has been a long-time gathering place for many Indigenous peoples over the course of centuries and millennia. I’d like to also acknowledge that the Anishinaabe Nation has strong ties to this land, which they know as Mooniyang (in their language, Anishinaabemowin). I also have worked out of land in the custody of the Wendat Confederacy (Quebec City), the Wαpánahki people (Sherbrooke), and the Omàmìwininìwag (Ottawa—Gatineau). I believe we are all fortunate that these aforementioned lands, and many others, are a home to numerous peoples, Indigenous or not.
Indigenous peoples have a long history which colonialism has erased since the invasion of Turtle Island by European settlers starting the late 15th century, and particularly the 17th century onwards. The glorification of colonization has led to widespread cultural genocide, including by the erasure and criminalization of people we now know as Two-Spirit. In a spirit of reconciliation, it is particularly important to acknowledge and confront the fact that our Occidental conceptions of gender identity and of a patriarchal society are still imposed upon them. This has many nefarious consequences, including the still-ongoing genocide of Indigenous women, girls, trans and two-spirit people. Even the law — the supposed great defender of minority rights — has failed, and even the names of our statutes (such as Indian Act), which I’m forced to name to avoid ambiguity, continue to perpetuate prejudice up until this day. It is our duty, as settlers on this land, to confront the many preconceptions taught to us by our schools and surroundings, to let ourselves be uncomfortable with reality, and to set ourselves on a path towards reconciliation.
My knowledge of this land’s history, as a non-Indigenous person and the daughter of Asian immigrants, who was never properly taught about Indigenous realities in school, is limited. As such, I am taking up the massive task of working in a perspective of decolonization — of the land, as well as my own mind. I hope everyone else who reads this page will think likewise — and understand that a land acknowledgment is, by its very nature, one of many steps to take.
For more information, the following places can offer support or information: Iskweu Project (Native Women’s Shelter Montreal) — native-land.ca — Two Spirits of Eeyou Istchee (upcoming)