Assistant Professor, Political Science and Native Studies, University of Alberta
The delivery of territorial acknowledgements and the reclamation of Indigenous places names have been central elements in Reconciliation efforts in many Canadian communities. But how should they be done in a good way, and what are the limits to what they can achieve? In the presentation “Indigenous Naming in Amiskwacîwâskahikan,” Rob Houle and Terri Suntjens will explore the naming conventions in the City of Edmonton’s past, present and future. It will touch on the importance of Indigenous naming conventions and ceremony. Topics will include whether naming in the past was authentic or patronizing and how the City is shifting on how naming is undertaken. They will examine how popular names in the area, their origins, and whether they are relevant or a version of branding. Questions around how reconciliation plays into Indigenous naming and the reclamation of naming will be explored.
In “Rethinking Territorial Acknowledgements: Crafting Meaningful Statements,” Dr. Matthew Wildcat unpacks the limits and possibilities of territorial acknowledgements, which originally gained traction as public acknowledgement of the treaties and Indigenous peoples on the land where an event was taking place. Territorial or land acknowledgements are now commonplace, and many organizations have templates that can be followed. For many people, these acknowledgements have become rote or perfunctory leading some to label them as hollow or box-ticking exercises. Dr. Wildcat explains his workshop method which asks participants to reflect on their own experiences and backgrounds, and thereby bring to light their own understanding of colonization and land.