Territorial Acknowledgment

The Vancouver City Planning Commission (VCPC) is committed to the process of decolonization, and reconciliation with First Nations and Urban Indigenous communities. 

We acknowledge we are on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.  We thank them for having cared for these lands and waters since time out of mind, and look forward to working with them in partnership as we continue to build this great city together.

This acknowledgment is a reminder of the discriminatory, racist, and colonial practices that have had a lasting legacy, and continue to create barriers for Indigenous peoples and communities in our city.

The VCPC views a land acknowledgement as more than a simple statement at the beginning of events, and an invitation to personalize our connect to the territories on which we settled. This passage, from Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee’s Decolonize First workbook, offers some insights into the power of personally internalizing our territorial acknowledgment:

A territorial acknowledgement is a personal commitment to, and appreciation for, the land you are in relationship with. It is a way to respect the Ancestors who cared for the land that is now caring for you. It can connect you to the medicine of the land.

When you acknowledge the territory in a good way, you build your strength, you give yourself medicine. You also model respectful relations When you introduce yourself, and say where you are from, you can include whose territory you grew up on. A territorial acknowledgment uses the name of the Nation who cares for the land, not the colonial name of the place.

It is a decolonizing practice to be in good relations with land and appreciating Indigenous peoples stewardship is part of that. Territorial acknowledgements have become compulsory email footers but can be so much more. If you’re new to this work, and want to find out whose land you are on, or grew up on, check out https://native-land.ca/

Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee, Decolonize First