land acknowledgement

The Town of Saugeen Shores has officially recognized its location on the traditional lands and treaty territory of Saugeen Ojibway Nation, and will acknowledge that fact at any official meetings and events.

In a November 15 media release, the 2022-2026 Council approved the policy at its inaugural meeting on Tuesday night, following declarations from the new members. The purpose is to recognize, respect and acknowledge the presence of Indigenous people in Saugeen Shores, and to commit to reconciliation, read the release.

“This policy is an important step in the relationship between the Town and our Indigenous neighbours,” said Mayor Luke Charbonneau. “We took our time to write the policy and the statement because we want it to feel meaningful and genuine every time it’s said.”

The Town’s report and statement is directly influenced by the federal government’s 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Report, and that report’s recommendations.

"The Town’s statement also builds on the Indigenous ritual of acknowledging the land to start meetings or gatherings," the release said.

“The first meeting of a new Council is largely ceremonial, with members having the chance to talk about their vision for the upcoming term,” said Charbonneau, who has 16 years of Council experience. "Introducing the Land Acknowledgement right away sets the tone for the meeting and indeed for the next four years," Charbonneau added.

The policy recommends rotating responsibility for the reading among members to demonstrate Council’s shared commitment to the ritual.

The Land Acknowledgement reads as follows:

We acknowledge that we are meeting on the traditional lands and treaty territory of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, which consists of the Chippewas of Saugeen and the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.

We understand this land holds immense significance to the people of Saugeen Ojibway Nation. We appreciate those who live and work alongside us today and who continue the traditions of their ancesotrs as stewards of the land we are privileged to inhabit. We thank them for their contributions they have made in both caring for the land and in shaping this community.

We commit to truth and reconciliation. To acknowledging the truth about what happened to Indigenous peoples because of colonization, and to reconciliation - which begins with each and every one of us.

As a local government and public organization, we are dedicated to learning about Indigenous culture, to fostering a better relationship with First Nations and their people, and we commit ourselves to actions that move us forward on a path to healing along with the Saugeen Ojibway Nation.

The individual giving the Land Acknowledgement is also encouraged to include a personal reflection that speaks to their own actions toward reconciliation.