Introduction to Global Justice and Change
Land Acknowledgement and Commitment to Anti-Colonial Struggle
This resource was created in Tkaronto (also known as Toronto). We (the authors and creators of this resource) honour the Indigenous nations of this territory, the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas and Haudenosaunee, who have cared for this land since time immemorial. We strive to be accountable to the Dish With One Spoon Treaty and to the ongoing anti-colonial struggle for the return of stolen land and wealth to Indigenous nations and peoples. We centre our work on relationship building, responsibility and accountability and know that as non-Indigenous settlers to this land, while it is a given that we will continue to make mistakes, our mistakes will be held within the ongoing practice of unlearning colonial logics and behaviours, and learning from and with Indigenous nations and other peoples living in these territories about other ways of relating and being in the world together.
For more information see “Land acknowledgements: uncovering an oral history of Tkaronto” by Selena Mills and Sara Roque, Illustrations by Chief Lady Bird.
Explore Land Acknowledgements Further
For further context regarding the performativity of land acknowledgements, such as how they can work to ease settler guilt rather than address the relationship building required to confront colonial violence and erasure, please read “What’s wrong with land acknowledgements, and how to make them better,” by Ka’nhehsí:io Deer for CBC news, Oct 21, 2021
If you are not Indigenous to these territories, it is important to consider the different ways of relating to land acknowledgements and colonial-settler history in Canada based on your own lineages. Whether you come to Canada as a newcomer to these territories, were forcibly brought here by practices of enslavement or indentured servitude, or come from lineages of white settlers whose original and ongoing purpose on this land was to produce wealth by stealing territory and resources from Indigenous nations, your responsibility to Indigenous nations and the land upon which you call home will look different. To explore this further consider reading “The shared struggles of Muslim Canadians and Indigenous peoples,” by Helyey Doutaghi and Ashley Courchene for rabble.ca, June 15, 2021.
Dish With One Spoon Territory
The acknowledgement below was created by X University’s Aboriginal Education Council:
Toronto is in the ‘Dish With One Spoon Territory.’ The Dish With One Spoon is a treaty between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas and Haudenosaunee that bound them to share the territory and protect the land. Subsequent Indigenous Nations and peoples, Europeans and all newcomers have been invited into this treaty in the spirit of peace, friendship and respect.
The “Dish,” or sometimes it is called the “Bowl,” represents what is now southern Ontario, from the Great Lakes to Quebec and from Lake Simcoe into the United States. *We all eat out of the Dish, all of us that share this territory, with only one spoon. That means we have to share the responsibility of ensuring the dish is never empty, which includes taking care of the land and the creatures we share it with. Importantly, there are no knives at the table, representing that we must keep the peace. The dish is graphically represented by the wampum pictured above.
This was a treaty made between the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee after the French and Indian War. Newcomers were then incorporated into it over the years, notably in 1764 with The Royal Proclamation/The Treaty of Niagara.
Indigenous Nations and Territories Around the World
In addition to the territories that have directly sustained this project here in Tkaronto, the territories of Indigenous peoples around the world (and the ongoing theft and exploitation of their lands), produces the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the technology that we depend on, the servers needed to sustain the internet, among so much more. For example, Zoom has erected its headquarters in San Jose, California, the traditional territory of the Muwekma Ohlone tribal nation.
We (the authors and creators of this resource) honour the original peoples and caretakers of all lands around the world and join the struggle to end the ongoing colonial violence and erasure of Indigenous nations, peoples and non-human life globally.
- For more information on Treaties and Agreements across Turtle Island, see Whose Land, a web-based app that uses GIS technology to assist users in identifying Indigenous Nations, territories and Indigenous communities across Canada.
- For maps and data on Indigenous Land and Territories around the world, visit LandMark, an online, interactive global platform to provide maps and other critical information on lands that are collectively held and used by Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
- For more information on Indigenous Nations and territories around the world, see Amnesty International’s resource and introductory information on Indigenous Peoples and Cultural Survival’s (an Indigenous-led NGO) description of the issues Indigenous peoples face globally.