The land this farm sits on is part of the traditional territory inhabited by the Attawandaron people. Other Indigenous peoples also lived in this area, including the Haudenosaunee, the Anishnaabe and The Métis nation.
This land is still home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
I have wanted to write a land acknowledgement for the farm for a while. “Land acknowledgements allow us to meaningfully reflect on physical space and the land we sit on by analyzing ourselves and our connection to the land.” (Source: On Canada Project)
I am a white woman. I am privileged. My ancestors were settlers. My presence on these Indigenous lands is part of that legacy.
The Attawandaron people who used to live in this area were also known as the Neutral nation. French explorers thought that the Attawandaron were neutral between neighbouring First Nation groups. The Canadian Encyclopedia tells me “The last reference to the Neutral as a nation in French records was in 1672. Today, no Neutral nation exists.”
This date astounds me–I know my reaction shows my lack of knowledge and my separation from Indigenous peoples’ experiences. Less than 200 years after colonization, an entire group of people were gone. Today, three and half centuries later, Attawandaron “descendants are believed to reside in present-day Haudenosaunee communities.”
The damage done to Indigenous peoples is phenomenal–and is still ongoing.
I am working to learn more about Indigenous peoples and their experiences and act to support them.
Living here at the farm, I want to honour the land and its original guardians. I am now responsible for how this land is used, how it is cared for, and how it is protected. I am learning about Indigenous land use, regenerative agriculture, and working to do the right things for this land.
My history and my status allow me to be here and live in this way. My ancestors faced hardships and worked hard. But their efforts were within a system that privileged people who looked like them, who lived like them, who believed what they believed. Their experience and mine is vastly different from Indigenous peoples who have faced generations of injustice. John Green wrote in The Anthropocene Reviewed, “If I don’t grapple with the reality that I owe much of my success to injustice, I’ll only further the hoarding of wealth and opportunity.”
I am trying to grapple with my reality and my place in the world and to take my own personal steps toward reconciliation.
This acknowledgement is part of that.
With thanks to the On Canada Project for their blog post about How to think about land acknowledgement meaningfully.