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Land Acknowledgements and Reconciling Our Settler History

Was on a GO train today and found out that, among all the other noise pollution, they also do land acknowledgements when approaching Union.

Personally, I would like to see the speakers on every GO vehicle disconnected with great prejudice, because Metrolinx clearly cannot be trusted to show any kind of restraint or discretion. Reminding people not to forget their stuff, reminding people not to chase down buses, even advertising the Santa Claus parade and theatre shows, and now this. Why even bother bringing a book on the train? By the time all the frivolous noise pollution is wrapped up you are well on the way to the next station.
 
Not to mention, that had Germany not declared war on Russia in 1914, Poland would not exist.

Imperial-Partition-of-Poland-1815-1914-This-map-is-partly-based-on-the-following.ppm
 
Was on a GO train today and found out that, among all the other noise pollution, they also do land acknowledgements when approaching Union.

Personally, I would like to see the speakers on every GO vehicle disconnected with great prejudice, because Metrolinx clearly cannot be trusted to show any kind of restraint or discretion. Reminding people not to forget their stuff, reminding people not to chase down buses, even advertising the Santa Claus parade and theatre shows, and now this. Why even bother bringing a book on the train? By the time all the frivolous noise pollution is wrapped up you are well on the way to the next station.

The most ridiculous has got to be the Tim Horton's promotion. There is special irony when they get to the part about the Quiet Zone.

AoD
 
Was on a GO train today and found out that, among all the other noise pollution, they also do land acknowledgements when approaching Union.
I would think they’d have to have a rolling acknowledgment as they stopped in each nation’s historic territory.
 
Not to mention, that had Germany not declared war on Russia in 1914, Poland would not exist.

Imperial-Partition-of-Poland-1815-1914-This-map-is-partly-based-on-the-following.ppm
Well you know if Germany, Russia and Austria hadn't partitioned Poland it would still have existed before that. There's a historical reason that Poles don't like Germans and Russians, particularly.
 
I would think they’d have to have a rolling acknowledgment as they stopped in each nation’s historic territory.
That really made me laugh out loud!

But indicative of the frivolous, narcissistic culture that currently blights our society.
 
Indigenous peoples are only here because of the actions of their migratory ancestors.
Is it just "first dibs"?
Humans migrating to new lands and maintaining a way of life for thousands of years is not the same as a subsequent set of humans migrating to that land and destroying that way of life, leaving small reserves for them, drawing up a piece of paper and labelling them as "indians" which continues to restrict their prosperity.
 
Humans migrating to new lands and maintaining a way of life for thousands of years is not the same as a subsequent set of humans migrating to that land and destroying that way of life, leaving small reserves for them, drawing up a piece of paper and labelling them as "indians" which continues to restrict their prosperity.
So basically, the precedent that governed human and group interaction everywhere since the dawn of time shouldn't apply to America.

Are we gullible?
 
Land acknowledgements developed organically as a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a means of acknowledging and reconciling the harms (including, yes, genocide) perpetrated by our society against the various Indigenous peoples. (https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/land-acknowledgment)

It is worth stressing that the harms done by Canadian governments and institutions aren't abstract or relegated to the distant past. There are living survivors and there is real compensable damage. I think the point that is missing here is that while (most) living individuals may not be directly accountable, as a member of the Canadian polity we bear collective responsibility to address and ameliorate the damage caused by us.
 
I'm not really sure how I feel about land acknowledgements, but they don't really bother me in moderation. I think that they (or things like them) can have a place in large public gatherings that attract a crowd that does not come regularly (ex. Grey Cup, Olympics), or maybe at the first of a series of recurring events, but when they are over-used it gives the impression that the presenter is trying to fluff their own ego.

Aside from that, as long as the wording is careful, they're not too bad. There are two (perhaps conflicting) things I don't like:

a. I saw one that claimed "All are invited to this treaty in friendship and respect". Says who? Nobody who is not Indigenous can get away with saying stuff like that
b. Any reference to being on stolen land. You can argue that it's true, but it begs the question that if the speaker really thinks that, then why are they here? It's like standing on the sidewalk with a megaphone telling everyone that you are wearing stolen jewellery.
 
I’m assuming this bothers you soo much because you buy into the narrative that white people have no historical responsibility to acknowledge that white people continue to benefit at the expense of indigenous peoples.
If white Canadians have any responsibility to the indigenous peoples, it must be to demand their integration into settled industrial society and give them the same access to the privileges of industrial society that every other disparate ethnic group that immigrated to Canada has.
 
b. Any reference to being on stolen land. You can argue that it's true, but it begs the question that if the speaker really thinks that, then why are they here? It's like standing on the sidewalk with a megaphone telling everyone that you are wearing stolen jewellery.
Especially Toronto where the land was purchased.
 
It's all ridiculously mucky.

The GTA area was very sparsely populated by the Huron-Wendat (about 20,000-25,000 people) until the mid-1600s. They primarily lived between Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay (hence the name Huron). Toronto itself was used as hinterland hunting grounds or for transportation and had practically no permanent settlements.

In the mid-1600s, the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy invaded southern Ontario from New York and killed, assimilated, or displaced most of the Huron-Wendat people. The Haudenosaunee established a couple of settlements near Toronto, but they were abandoned by 1687 when the Ojibwe Anishinaabe, who later became known as the Mississaugas, invaded and drove them out. This is about the time when European "settlers" began arriving. Today, only about 29,000 people of indigenous identity live in the City of Toronto--or about 0.8% of the population--which is fewer than the number of people of Korean background, nevermind many others. This is not because they were driven out or killed by "settlers", but because there were essentially no permanent Indigenous settlements in the area.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Toronto#Early_history

In terms of land claims, most of what is now Toronto, Vaughan, and King was purchased from the Mississaugas in 1787 and 1805, although the terms of the agreements were disputed until 2010, when the Mississaugas reached a $145 million settlement (representing the ancient value of the land) with the Federal Government. The majority of the GTA is covered by undisputed treaties or purchases, with the exception of the ongoing Rouge Tract Claim by the Mississaugas, which covers Scarborough, some of North York, and most of Markham. This is in the claims process and will likely result in some form of settlement.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto_Purchase
https://mncfn.ca/the-rouge-tract-claim-submitted-in-2015/

I am very interested in understanding history, but I find the quasi-mandatory, rote nature of GTA "Land Acknowledgements" and the breathless reverence they are given in certain circles irksome. It is ironic that they typically list all the Indigenous groups that have even briefly crossed the GTA, but neglect to mention that they repeatedly invaded and displaced each other from that same land in quite recent history. Most statements also mention the lands being subject to Treaty, but omit that almost all claims have been peacefully resolved. The unstated suggestion is that displacement was caused by white "settlers" (an "us-versus-them", fruitless, and clearly pejorative-academic term) or that there are ongoing disputes regarding title to "stolen" land in Toronto, where neither are fundamentally true.

For these reasons, I think the conversations in this thread will tend to be inflammatory and misleading.

None of this is to say that there aren't places where land acknowledgements make perfect sense, where there aren't active title disputes, where settlement of the land didn't displace indigenous people, or that other actions of the pre-Canadian / Canadian government didn't negatively affect indigenous people. But the situation in the GTA happens to be different than in many other places. Rather than discussing "Land Acknowledgements" or "Reconciling Our Settler History", I think a far more more useful exercise would be to highlight where there are ongoing title claims or negotiations in Ontario (https://www.ontario.ca/page/current-land-claims) or to discuss how to resolve the socio-economic issues that face Indigenous people today.

Just my two cents and what I hope is some useful information. Now I hope that this thread just disappears.
 
Land acknowledgements developed organically as a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a means of acknowledging and reconciling the harms (including, yes, genocide) perpetrated by our society against the various Indigenous peoples. (https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/land-acknowledgment)

It is worth stressing that the harms done by Canadian governments and institutions aren't abstract or relegated to the distant past. There are living survivors and there is real compensable damage. I think the point that is missing here is that while (most) living individuals may not be directly accountable, as a member of the Canadian polity we bear collective responsibility to address and ameliorate the damage caused by us.
The history cited is effect, not cause. The upstream phenomena is a society that has grown and inculcated what one philosopher termed 'a culture of self-repudiation.' Specifics of such a culture's history are effectively irrelevant as the worst aspects will always be seized upon as exemplar of such society's injustices and misdeeds. In this regard, the present casts its shadow on the past.

The irony, in the case of Canada, is that we are amongst the richest, most prosperous, freest societies to have ever existed and whose conception of liberty of the individual and quality of life have little contemporary, and no historical parallel. This hegemonic culture of self-denigration, almost uniquely ensconced in the English speaking world, has now taken the framework of 'oppressor-oppressed', firmly eliminated the working class from its consciousness, and substituted the sacralisation of those historically marginalised based on race, ethnicity and gender. This ideology is almost exclusively held by rich, white liberals (or those non-whites on the gravy train) and publicly flaunted now in the fashion as, for example, mink coats once were. From luxury garments to luxury beliefs.

Of course, if this were an historic issue, one may pose the question: as opposed to what? Very little of our history is new. Rather, it is the same history, but with a new society where cultural self-denigration is highly incentivised (or punished for opposition) such that our past is twisted to meet the cultural (and sizeable financial) demands of the present ('genocide' 'injustice' 'marginalisation').

Talk about justice is fashionable but empty rhetoric. A nation that hates itself has no self-respect.
 

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