The City of Moose Jaw will officially be using a land acknowledgement at all city events and public meetings.
The land acknowledgement word and policies were passed by Moose Jaw City Council on Monday night.
The agreed land acknowledgement reads as follows:
"The City of Moose Jaw is located within Treaty 4 territory, the original lands of the Cree, Saulteaux, Dakota, Nakoda and Lakota, and the homeland of Métis Nation.
The nêhiyawak translation of Moose Jaw is môso-tâpiskan and is the shared landscape for Indigenous Peoples and settlers from around the world who call Moose Jaw home.
We acknowledge the harms and mistakes of the past, and we are committed to move forward in equal partnerships with Indigenous Nations, with respect, and in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation."
Emails and letterheads from the city will also include “Treaty 4 Territory and Homeland of Metis Nation.”
Previous to Monday night's meeting, the city did not have an officially adopted land acknowledgement. Land acknowledgements have been read before all council meetings since 2021 but there has never been an official directive to do so. Some city-hosted events have also delivered land acknowledgements, but the usage has not been consistent.
“Currently, many city employees do use a land acknowledgement on the email signatures, but those statements do vary in language and length. The most consistent usage of a land acknowledgement at city events occurs at the beginning of city council meetings and this has been the practice only since 2021,” said city communications manager Craig Hemingway.
The city is creating an Indigenous Framework Policy using the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 calls for action. The framework policy is expected to include that land acknowledgements be read at city-hosted events as an act of reconciliation and recognizing the relationship between the Indigenous peoples and their traditional territories.
In creating the land acknowledgement, the city consulted with:
- Lori Deets, chair of the Wakamow Aboriginal Community Association
- Darrell Hawman, president of Southern Plains Metis Local 160
- Dave Pelletier, Indigenous knowledge keeper of the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery Indigenous Advisory Group
- Barb Frazer, Indigenous knowledge systems educator with the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery Indigenous Advisory Group
- Elder Eugene Arcand
- Dr. Arok Wolvengrey, professor of Algonquin languages and linguistics at the First Nations University of Canada
- Prairie Wild Consultants, the consulting leads in developing the city's cultural plan
- Office of the Treaty Commissioner in Saskatoon.
Frazer suggested that the land acknowledgement include the Cree translation of Moose Jaw's name, while Wolvengrey helped research the translation.
Hemingway said the city is looking to update the city’s coat of arms as well because of the Cree translation found on it.
“Interesting to note, Dr. Wolvengrey's assessment that the common Cree name for Moose Jaw that is represented on the city's coat of arms, which was adopted in 1966, Moosoochapiskun, Dr. Wolvengrey said that is an English attempt to represent a Cree word,” Hemingway explained.
The final paragraph of the land acknowledgement was suggested to Pelletier and Arcand.
The city is also going to review the land acknowledgement every two years with further research and dialogue with Indigenous partners.
Acting Mayor Doug Blanc also acknowledged on behalf of the city that Saturday is National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
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