Land Acknowledgement

The purpose of a land acknowledgement is to give a formal statement recognizing the unique and enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous peoples and their traditional territories. We honour the Indigenous people who have lived and worked on this land historically and presently. The land that is known as Chatham-Kent today is on the traditional territory of the Three Fires Confederacy consisting of the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi peoples.

Chatham-Kent is within the Bkejwanong territory also known as Walpole Island First Nation, and neighbours the territory of Lunaapeew also known as the Delaware First Nation at Moraviantown, and the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation.

Of course, it’s important to note that land acknowledgements, as widespread as they have become, are only a very small step in reconciliation and work to counter the doctrine of discovery. It’s important to understand the long-standing history that has brought you to reside on this land, and to seek to understand your place within that history as colonialism is an ongoing process and we need to build our mindfulness of our present participation. We can and should make a conscious effort to align ourselves in the process of decolonization and increasing Indigenous sovereignty.

Indigeneity and Gender-based Violence

This is highly relevant in our work in the gender-based violence sector, as settler colonialism has contributed to the continued marginalization and targeting of Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people at increased rates. Over 4000 Indigenous women and girls have been murdered or gone missing since the 1950s with the problem being so pervasive that the Canadian government does not know the exact numbers. It is 12x more likely that an Indigenous woman might be murdered or go missing than any other women in Canada, and 3x more likely that they will experience sexual violence. For two-spirit and Indigiqueer people, these rates are even higher when we consider the compounded effects of colonialism and racism along with homophobia and transphobia.

This form of violence is just one of many ways that colonization has and continues to perpetuate harm on Indigenous communities. The cultural genocide, oppression, dehumanization, and continued displacement of Indigenous people and their communities has ingrained a settler mindset of the domination and objectification of women’s bodies and our care for the land.

Chatham-Kent is not exempt from this harm, and we cannot have an effective conversation about sexual violence without acknowledging the effects our history has on the disproportionate and ongoing violence toward Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and our work will continue to amplify those voices.

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