The University of Guelph encourages community members to take part in events planned for Treaties Recognition Week Nov. 1-5.
Treaties Recognition Week was established by the province of Ontario to educate on the importance of honouring treaties involving relationships with First Nations peoples and lands.
The University of Guelph campuses reside on the treaty lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit (Guelph and Guelph-Humber) and the treaty lands of the Odawa, Potawatami and Ojibwe (Ridgetown).
“The University’s educational and research activities occur on treaty lands and territories across Turtle Island, where Indigenous people have resided for centuries,” said Dr. Cara Wehkamp, U of G’s special adviser to the president on Indigenous initiatives.
“It’s important that we as a community educate ourselves about these treaties in order to honour and respect these lands and relationships. We are all treaty people with responsibilities to honour the treaty rights protected by the Constitution Act, 1982 and uphold our obligations so that we may reconcile with treaty partners and lands.”
U of G’s Indigenous Student Centre will host two educational events for U of G community members, as follows:
An information session on Acknowledging Indigenous Lands will discuss the context and process for land acknowledgements, including their intent and how to develop personal practice for acknowledging the land. Facilitiated by Wehkamp, the aim is for particpants to start crafting their own land acknowledgements. Spots for this event in the University Centre are limited. Participants must register here.
Jamie Horner, coordinator of Indigenous programs with the Indigenous Student Centre, will talk about relationships and responsibilities to land and treaties during a walk through U of G’s Arboretum. Those interested should meet at the kiosk at the pedstrian entrance to the Arboretum at 2:30 p.m.
The Ontario Ministry of Indigenous Affairs will also host several education sessions, as follows:
Treaties and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action: an interactive discussion with Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux on treaties, their connection to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action and how we can all advance reconciliation, Nov. 1, 1-2 p.m.
Trick or Treaty?: a discussion with Maurice Switzer on how the Supreme Court and governments have historically approached treaties, Nov. 2, 1:30-3 p.m.
Red, Right and True: a discussion with Dr. Ruke Redbird on historical prevarications and seeing history through an Indigenous lens, Nov. 5, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
The University is also encouraging members to visit U of G’s land acknowledgement webpage for more information on the importance and purpose of land acknowledgements and how to create them.
The University remains committed to reconciliation and decolonization through numerous initiatives, including implementing all the recommendations in its Indigenous Initiatives Strategy Report. For more information, visit Indigenous Initiatives.