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Ottawa, Mar 28 (Canadian-Media): Indigenous land acknowledgments, since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 calls to action were released in 2015, had been urging all levels of government to change policies and programs to repair the harm caused by residential schools and move forward with reconciliation, media reports said.
According to some Indigenous and non-Indigenous people land acknowledgments are hollow when they aren't followed up with further reconciliatory action.
Acknowledging traditional land is rooted in a spiritual understanding of spiritual territory, said Philip Brass, an Indigenous consultant from the Peepeekisis Cree Nation -- a Cree First Nation in southern Saskatchewan, Canada -- and added they have an even deeper significance.
"From a traditional practice, land acknowledgment for Indigenous people...is a tradition that is really rooted in a spiritual understanding of spiritual territory, so that's something fundamentally different about what we are seeing today...They can't be the only thing to do..."I think it can delay real systemic change in action, which is needed [for] any notions of reconciliation," said Brass
"There should be a meaning behind these statements...They aren't the wrong thing to do," said Max FineDay, executive director of Canadian Roots Exchange, a national non-profit that works with youth to advance reconciliation.
"It's just that they can't be the only thing to do," said FineDay.
FineDay, also a member of the interim National Council on Reconciliation, said both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people making these acknowledgments need to take action themselves and added,
"If they aren't familiar with it … reflect on what that means to them personally."
More recently Regina's Globe Theatre, which earlier had been reciting land acknowledgments before each production soon after the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission were released, has turned its attention to Indigenous storytelling and engaging with Indigenous history.
"When the Truth and Reconciliation report came out, we came together as a team and came up with a list of actions that we could take immediately, mid-term and long-term, in order to be engaged in that process of learning, acknowledgment and honouring," said Ruth Smillie, the theatre's artistic director.
Ruth Smillie (left)/Twitter
The theatre's 'Making Treaty 4', which would be staged in mid-April, explores the historical and contemporary significance of Treaty 4, encompassing Regina Saskatchewan. The theatre also plans to offer counselling for audience members.