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.
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.