What’s in a Territorial Acknowledgement?

For the last several months, the City of Guelph has been working on a formal Territorial Acknowledgement that can be read before council meetings and other City of Guelph events, and meetings. Last night at council, it was the first time it was read before the public…

As we gather, we are reminded that Guelph is situated on treaty land that is steeped in rich indigenous history and home to many First Nations, Métis and Inuit people today.

As a City we have a responsibility for the stewardship of the land on which we live and work.

Today we acknowledge the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation on whose traditional territory we are meeting.

The acknowledgement was wordsmithed by City staff working in consultation with First Nations, Métis and Inuit community leaders and elders who looked at other acknowledgements from neighbouring municipalities, universities and the one used by the Province of Ontario. Each line of the acknowledgement was then crafted to make a specific statement.

The first sentence provides the context that the history does not start at the point of European contact. It begins long before and includes the Anishnaabe, Haudenasanee and Métis peoples, and continues to the present day.

The second sentence refers to the role and responsibility of the City as present day steward of our public lands and natural resources.

The third sentence recognizes that today the people of Guelph reside on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, from whom this land was purchased by the British in 1784, as Upper Canada Treaty No. 3, 1792.

The acknowledgement is also meant to be a living document, which means it can change or be edited over time as the need arises. To learn more about the acknowledgement, you can go to the City’s website, or email the city clerk at clerks@guelph.ca.

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