The TSSU lies on unceded lands stewarded by the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwitwetlem), Stó:lō, Qiqéyt (Qayqayt), Katzie, and Qw’ó:ltl’el (Kwantlen) nations, as well as the SENĆOŦEN and Hul’qui’minum speaking peoples of Vancouver Island who also know these lands. TSSU recognises the historically inconsistent relationship between the labour movement and Indigenous resistance to colonisation. As workers involved in education and research, we also recognise the ways that universities benefit from the marginalisation of communities including but not limited to houseless, refugee, immigrant, Black, disabled, and Indigenous peoples. Within these contexts, TSSU is committed to standing in solidarity with those also working towards a more just and equitable society, which includes returning land.
Who are Indigenous People?
Under international law, there is no official definition of Indigenous, although the United Nations generally identifies Indigenous groups as independent and self-sustaining societies that have faced discrimination, marginalization and assimilation of their cultures and peoples due to the arrival of a larger or more dominant settler population. In Canada, this includes First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples based on the 1876 Indian Act.
What is an Indigenous territory acknowledgement?
A territory acknowledgement is recognition that BC is situated on traditional, unceded Indigenous lands. Territory acknowledgements often take place at the beginning of meetings, and the speaker usually identifies the Indigenous peoples who have lived (and often continue to live) in the region. The speaker then might explain the meaning or value this practice holds for them.
Thanks in large part to the work of Indigenous activists, this practice is becoming increasingly common; you may have seen or heard it done. If you don’t know how or why someone might do a territory acknowledgement, this pamphlet and the resources it presents might be a useful tool.