I wish to acknowledge that Earth’s General Store is located in Treaty 6 Territory. My home, family, and life also exist in Treaty 6 territory. Earth’s General Store seeks to be supportive of the Indigenous people of Treaty 6 and all Indigenous people everywhere.
I am not a historian nor knowledgeable about the history of this land, the cultures and people that lived here, and I would consider myself fairly ignorant of the consequences of the colonization and the many facets of relationships between the indigenous people of this land and all that came.
I do know that I carry a sense of shame of belonging to a segment of humanity whose forebearers were responsible for the present situation. I am sure that the people that created the treaties took advantage of a society that did not understand certain concepts in the same way – ownership of land and such. I am also ashamed of the previous government’s creation of the residential school system and the 60s scoop. We caused great harm to several established and existing societies.
We can do much to heal this harm. I believe that acknowledgment is the first step. Education, action, and a change in mindset are parts of the solution. I appreciate that recent governments have acknowledged the harm created by previous governments and offered apologies, financial compensation, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, raising the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, etc. but they must dig deeper and they need to fix underlying harm. Money alone will not heal the harm.
I do work to reduce the level of discrimination in my own life and my interactions with the world but acknowledge that I probably fall quite short of where I could be and my perspective is one of a privileged white male. I am aware of the position that my sex and colour of my skin have on my perspective and position in the world. I work to lessen the impact of history on the present and future generations of all people in the world.
First off is to acknowledge that our store is located in Treaty 6 Territory and we are visitors here. On that note, I am actually an unwanted guest since I did not ask permission to take up space on their land. It is confusing to me. How do I reconcile this?
I am open to guidance and feedback on how I could do better.
I have recently embarked on educating myself on this subject. Several months ago I heard about a course that was being discussed on the CBC Radio program – UnReseved. The course was developed here at the University of Alberta and is called Indigenous Canada. It is free and you can work through it at your own pace.
One of my issues about being here and acknowledging that my life and business are on First Nations land that was, in essence, stolen from them and they (the ancestors nor the present First Nations people) have not given me permission to occupy the land and set up my business on their land. – by their rules. My society imposed our rules of land ownership and transferring between ourselves through “ownership” and land deeds. It kind of feels smarmy to me.