Indigenous Acumen

ARC strongly encourages you to explore and learn from UVic's Office of Indigenous Academic & Community Engagement pages. In particular, we point you towards this video on UVic's Territory Acknowledgment:

We acknowledge with respect the Lekwungen peoples on whose traditional territory the University of Victoria stands, and the Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.

Building on this foundation, ARC extends the UVic Land Acknowledgement to focus on our activities as follows:

Solstice sunrise from beach below PKOLS (Mount Douglas), overlaid with the ARC land acknowledgement: "We respectfully acknowledge that the sites on which ARC members gather, learn, and work are the ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples. As we explore the shared sky, we acknowledge our responsibilities to honour those who were here before us, and their continuing relationships to these lands. We strive for respectful relationships and partnerships with all the peoples of these lands as we move forward together towards reconciliation and decolonization."
Solstice sunrise from beach below PKOLS (Mount Douglas)

What is a land acknowledgement?

A territory or land acknowledgement is a small but essential act of reconciliation.  It is a formal statement, often given at the beginning of ceremonies and events, which acknowledges and respects Indigenous Peoples as the traditional and enduring stewards of this land.  A land acknowledgement should encourage non-Indigenous individuals to ask questions, learn more about the history of the land, and to reconsider their relationship to the land.

Why is developing a land acknowledgement important to ARC?

Incorporating land acknowledgements is one way ARC strives to act in accordance with UVic’s Indigenous plans.  Our community will be a safer space when the members of the community have strong cultural acumen.  A person who has cultural acumen acknowledges and respects differences in culture and backgrounds and has the skills and knowledge to work with others in ways which are effective and respectful.  This requires a consideration of social and historical context.

Where can I learn more about UVic's land acknowledgement?

The UVic's Land Acknowledgment can be found here. We also encourage you to explore the excellent resources complied on the Office of Indigenous Academic & Community Engagement pages. 

How do I include a land acknowledgement?

We encourage you to recognize the land on which your home institute and/or research facilities stand. Here is an example that is available for all ARC community members:

We respectfully acknowledge that the institute/facility (specify) where this work/research (specify) was conducted is/are (specify) on the ancestral territories of Indigenous Peoples. As we explore the shared sky, we acknowledge our responsibilities to honour their past and enduring relationships with these lands. 

What should I consider before using a land acknowledgement?

When delivering or including a Land Acknowledgement, here are some questions to reflect on (source):

  • Why is this acknowledgement happening?
  • How does this acknowledgement relate to the work you are doing?
  • What is the history of this land? What are the impacts of colonialism here?
  • What is your relationship to this land? How did you come to be here?
  • What intentions do you have to disrupt and dismantle colonialism beyond this land acknowledgement?

Further learning

We strongly encourage all members of the ARC community to take ICAT (Indigenous Cultural Acumen Training).  ICAT is a workshop offered by UVic which encourages self-reflection and self-education regarding how we, as individuals, interact and interface with Indigenous cultures and issues.  

We also recommend attending the EQHR Anti-Racism Awareness training offered at UVic. 

We hope you will keep learning. Please reach out to sciarc@uvic.ca with comments, suggestions or concerns.


Important notice on TMT: On July 23, 2019, UVic issued a statement on the TMT project on Mauna Kea.