June 21 is National Indigenous People's Day and is a day to celebrate the unique cultures, traditions, and experiences of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island. We wanted to share some information, along with some events taking place across Saskatchewan.
Did you know that it is possible to see the traditional territories of the lands that we inhabit? Native Land Digital has prepared, and continues to update and maintain, a map with visual representations of Indigenous territories, language or treaties of a place. They have also prepared a resource sharing some important information about territory acknowledgements. Territory Acknowledgements can easily become a token gesture, rather than a meaningful practice. All settlers, including those new to Canada, have a responsibility to acknowledge the history and legacy of colonialism, including how we benefit from ongoing colonialism.
As Chelsea Vowel, a Métis woman from the Plains Cree speaking community of Lac Ste. Anne, Alberta, writes:
“If we think of territorial acknowledgments as sites of potential disruption, they can be transformative acts that to some extent undo Indigenous erasure. I believe this is true as long as these acknowledgments discomfit both those speaking and hearing the words. The fact of Indigenous presence should force non-Indigenous peoples to confront their own place on these lands.” – Chelsea Vowel, Métis, Beyond Territorial Acknowledgements
The Office of the Treaty Commissioner lists several events taking place across Saskatchewan, including events in Prince Albert, Montreal Lake Cree Nation, Yorkton, Regina, Saskatoon, North Battleford, and Tisdale.
Wanuskewin is hosting a day of celebration with a full day of activities.
Whether you attend an event in your community, learn how to pronounce the territorial name of the land on which you live, or consider the sacred importance of land, we hope that you take some time today to learn about the history of place you live, and strive to learn something new about the culture, history, or language of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Indigenous peoples.