Truth & Reconciliation

Gordon House on Unceded Territory

In 2019, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls specifically asserted that Canada, from precolonial past to present, has committed genocide against Indigenous peoples. This genocide was enacted through a broad range of policy that included displacing Indigenous people from their land; removing Indigenous children from their homes; outlawing Indigenous gatherings, protocols and practices; and much more. The harms of Canada’s colonial policy reverberate to this day. 

At times, colonial policy was enacted through social institutions like schools, faith-based organizations and charities. As a charitable organization, we believe we have a heightened responsibility to identify colonial processes within our own organization and to rectify ongoing harms to Indigenous people. This work is ongoing, and we invite all community to join us in this process.

Territorial Acknowledgement

One step Gordon Neighbourhood House regularly takes out of respect for the First Peoples of this land is to conduct a ‘territorial/land acknowledgement’ where appropriate. 

An example of a territorial acknowledgement may read as follows: 

Gordon Neighbourhood House is located on the unceded territory of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam Nations. 

Unceded territory means that the land in question was never legally surrendered to Canada and maintains an undefin. Gordon Neighbourhood House seeks to demonstrate respect for Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam governance by regularly acknowledging the territory, and by using the practice to further explore our involvement with colonial systems. We also seek to further respect the local Nations by inviting elders and knowledge keepers to participate in events and programs as appropriate, and including cultural content where we are invited to do so.

The relationship we have with these three Nations is permanent and lifelong. These practices are where we can begin as we learn how to do our work in a way that is both consistent with the interests of the Nations, and with making a shameful history right. 

Who are the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations? 

The Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations are the original and ongoing occupants of the area now known as Vancouver. Gordon Neighborhood House is situated near the historical village site of Xway Xway in what is now known as Stanley Park, which is understood to have been continuously occupied for over 3000 years. Gordon House participants are actively encouraged to learn about these three Nations on their respective websites. 

Additional Resources

City of Vancouver’s First Peoples’ Guide for Newcomers Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girl

Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation

Gordon Neighbourhood House’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation includes conducting an audit of the 94 Calls to Action and the MMWIG Calls to Justice, and creating a work plan to realize each relevant Call. We are working alongside Indigenous community members in this process. We acknowledge the dark history of residential schools in this province, and recognize that many of our participants are survivors, or intergenerational survivors, of residential schools. It is our responsibility to ensure all staff and volunteers at Gordon House are aware of Canada’s colonial history and have relevant training in Indigenous anti-racism, cultural competency and cultural humility. We encourage our community to join us in this process. 

John Spence GNH Mural