What a great week it’s been on Sense of Place. This week we devoted time to exploring acknowledgments of First Nations territory. What do we mean by that? Well, it is becoming increasingly customary to acknowledge the host First Nation Peoples and their traditional territory at the outset of any meeting. But here at Sense of Place, we wanted to know what these acknowledgments really mean. How did the practice originate? How is it shaped by social, political and legal geographies – namely, the legacy of colonial relationships and the treaties created in these spaces? And is it just self-aggrandizing grandstanding on behalf of some folks who simply just want to make a statement and then ignore Indigenous rights altogether?
A powerhouse team of scholars who recently embarked upon a study to discover the form and content of acknowledgments as practiced at universities. Rima Wilkes, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, UBC; Howard Ramos, Professor of Sociology at Dalhousie University, Linc Kessler, professor in First Nations and Indigenous Studies and English at UBC, and Senior Advisor to the President on Aboriginal Affairs and Daniel Heath Justice, citizen of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, and professor in First Nations and Indigenous Studies. He also holds the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous and Expressive Culture at UBC. I learned a lot and hope you will too!