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How To Craft A Powerful Land Acknowledgement – that isn’t daunting

By: Gayathri Shukla, May 1, 2024

I live in a beautiful place where the Bow River meets the Elbow River, a site traditionally known as Moh’kins’tsis by the Blackfoot people. This area, part of Treaty 7 territory, is home to the Blackfoot Confederacy (comprised of the Siksika, the Piikani, and the Kainai First Nations), the Tsuut’ina First Nation, and the Stoney Nakoda (including Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Goodstoney First Nations). The City of Calgary is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta (Districts 5 and 6).

This Acknowledgment goes far beyond words for me.

As an immigrant from India who has been in Canada for over 25 years, I deeply understand the importance of this Acknowledgement in the journey towards Truth and Reconciliation. Having an ancestral history harmed by colonization, and now living on Turtle Island, I recognize that Truth and Reconciliation extends beyond the responsibility of white European settlers who arrived before me. It’s a call upon all of us to understand the history of colonization, and address the ongoing impacts.

Yet, I often wonder whether my Acknowledgement (including the time-constrained one I share on the Hearth 2 Heart podcast) comes across like a rehearsed sound-bite rather than a true expression of my feelings and commitment.  I’ve also attended many public events where the Land Acknowledgement is literally read from a script, giving it a “check-boxy” feel even if that wasn’t the intent.

That’s why it was so refreshing and inspiring when I heard aloT of Poetry share a heartfelt Land Acknowledgement in front of an audience of 1000+ at the City of Calgary’s racial justice conference in March 2024. She unapologetically delivered it as a poem, and was met with a standing ovation.

It is my absolute honour to invite aloT of Poetry as a guest for this episode. Tune into hear her insights around how poetry is a powerful tool to access our emotions on a complex topic, why writing a poem doesn’t have to be as daunting as we may think, and ultimately, how our Land Acknowledgement can strengthen our sense of belonging with the land as well as our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation.

You can catch the full episode on any of your preferred podcast platforms or simply click one of the buttons below.

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