OPSEU/SEFPO events begin with an Indigenous Land Acknowledgement and the Statement of Respect. The Member Education Unit has developed a beautifully designed Event Guide to help with your meeting and event openings.
As a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, many settler organizations began the practice of starting their meetings with a Land Acknowledgement as an act of reconciliation. The Event Guide provides a Land Acknowledgement together with site-specific details for in-person events. It also includes Land Acknowledgement text tailored for your online meetings.
The diversity and richness of Indigenous cultures and history cannot be captured in a pre-written statement. Acknowledging the injustices inflicted on Indigenous communities without a real commitment to repair the harm done sounds like an empty apology that has become all too familiar to Indigenous people. Advice is also given for how you can best customize your land acknowledgeable to ensure it is meaningful and heart-felt.
Be sure to keep the brochure in easy reach on your desktop, or save the link for online access. Limited quantities of printed brochures will soon be available at regional offices.
Indigenous Land Acknowledgement
Please use the following text as the basis for your land acknowledgement, and adapt it to include a heartfelt message. Include the site-specific acknowledgement for where the event is being held as follows:
– the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Attawandaron (Neutral), and Wendat peoples. This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties.
– the traditional territory of the Attawandaron (Neutral), Anishnaabeg, and Haudenosauonee peoples. This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties.
– the traditional territory of the Attawandaron (Neutral). This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties.
– the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishnaabeg. This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties and directly adjacent to Haldimand Treaty territory.
– the traditional territory of Anishinaabeg, Ojibway/Chippewa and Haudenosaunee peoples. This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties.
– the traditional territory of the Haudenosaune, Ojibway/Chippewa and Anishinaabeg. This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties.
– the traditional territory of the Mississauga Anishinaabeg. This territory is covered by Treaty 20.
– the traditional territory of the Huron-Wendat and Haudenosaunee peoples. This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties.
– the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg people.
Toronto (Head Office, Coopers, Wellesley, Victoria Park)
– we wish to acknowledge this land on which we gather. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Haudenosaunee, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations. This land is governed by the Dish with one spoon covenant between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Confederacy of Ojibway and Allied Nations. This covenant is an agreement to share, work and protect this land together in harmony. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work and live on this land.
– the traditional territory of the Nipissing First Nation Anishnaabeg. This territory is covered by the Robinson-Huron and Upper Canada Treaties.
Sault Ste. Marie
– Robinson-Huron Treaty territory and the traditional territory of the Anishnaabeg people.
– Robinson-Huron Treaty territory and the traditional territory of the Atikameksheng Anishnaabeg people.
– Treaty 9 territory and the traditional territory of Ojibway/Chippewa, Oji-Cree, Mushkegowuk (Cree) and Algonquin peoples.
– Treaty 3 territory and the traditional territory of Ojibway/Chippewa people.
– Robinson-Superior Treaty territory and the traditional territory of the Anishnaabeg people.
Note: If this list does not include your location, you are encouraged to do some research into the traditional territory you are on. For additional site-specific land acknowledgements, please refer to the Ontario Federation of Labour website www.ofl.ca and the Native Land website https://native-land.ca/, and/or download the “Whose Land” app at https://apps.apple.com/ca/app/whose-land/id1350310353
Download the OFL Land Acknowledgement PDF at https://ofl.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017.05.31-Traditional-Territory-Acknowledgement-in-Ont.pdf
Acknowledgement of Land for in-person events
We/I will begin this session by acknowledging that we are meeting on land that has been inhabited by Indigenous peoples from the beginning. As settlers, we’re grateful for the opportunity to meet here and we thank all the generations of people who have taken care of this land – for thousands of years.
Long before today, as we gather here, there have been Indigenous peoples who have been the stewards of this place. In particular, we wish to acknowledge (identify the appropriate territory).
Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work and live on this land. We recognize and deeply appreciate their historic connection to this place. We also recognize the contributions of Métis, Inuit, and other Indigenous peoples have made, both in shaping and strengthening this community in particular, and our province and country as a whole.
As settlers, this recognition of the contributions and historic importance of Indigenous peoples must also be clearly and overtly connected to our collective commitment to make the promise and the challenge of Truth and Reconciliation real in our communities, and in particular to bring justice for murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls across Turtle Island.
Acknowledgement of Land for online events
Land acknowledgements should be part of all gatherings, including online meetings and events. Depending on the location of your participants, you may acknowledge all Indigenous groups, or research the First Peoples of the land you are on. Here is a land acknowledgement you can use and personalize:
I would like to begin by acknowledging the Indigenous Peoples of all the lands that we are on today. While we meet today on a virtual platform, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the importance of the land, which we each call home. We do this to reaffirm our commitment and responsibility in improving relationships between nations and to improving our own understanding of local Indigenous peoples and their cultures.
From coast to coast to coast, we acknowledge the ancestral and unceded territory of all the Inuit, Métis, and First Nations people that call this nation home.
Please join me in a moment of reflection to acknowledge the harms and mistakes of the past and to consider how we can each, in our own way, move forward in a spirit of reconciliation and collaboration.
[This Land Acknowledgement is used with thanks to Engineers Canada https://engineerscanada.ca/sites/default/files/diversity/land-acknowledgements-guide.pdf]
Statement of Respect
Harassment or discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated at OPSEU/SEFPO functions.
Whenever OPSEU/SEFPO members gather, we welcome all peoples of the world. We will not accept any unwelcoming words, actions or behaviours against our union members.
We accord respect to all persons, regardless of age, creed, political affiliation and racialization including and not limited to People of African descent, Black, Caribbean, South Asian, Asian, women, men, First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, members of ethno-racial groups, people with disabilities, gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgender/transsexual people, and gender diverse persons, francophones and all persons whose first language is not English.
In our diversity we will build solidarity as union members.
If you believe that you are being harassed or discriminated against contact
(specify names) * for immediate assistance.
* It is the event coordinator’s responsibility to designate at least two qualified persons. The names and phones numbers of such persons must be listed. One of the designated members shall be female.