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Getting the Land Acknowledgement Right

Land Acknowledgements often begin academic conferences, cultural events, government press gatherings, and even hockey games. They are supposed to be an act of Reconciliation between Indigenous peoples in Canada and non-Indigenous Canadians, but they have become so routine and formulaic that they have sometimes lost meaning. Seen more and more as empty words, some events have dropped Land Acknowledgements altogether.

Métis artist and educator Suzanne Keeptwo wants to change that. She sees the Land Acknowledgement as an opportunity for Indigenous peoples in Canada to communicate a message to non-Indigenous Canadians—a message founded upon Age Old Wisdom about how to sustain the Land we all want to call home.

This is an essential narrative for truth sharing and knowledge acquisition.

Table of Contents

1. Original Land, Original People
2. The Land Acknowledgement: An Educational Opportunity
3. The Land Acknowledgement as Cultural Practice
4. Invest in the Land Acknowledgement
5. Identity Politics
6. Examples of Problematic Land Acknowledgements
7. The Land Acknowledgement as Artistic Practice
8. We All Go Back to the Land
Bonus: The Framework Summary
About the Author

A much-needed cry for healing the Earth Mother by way of Indigenous-led Land Acknowledgments. Outstanding!

Harold R. Johnson, retired defense attorney, author of Firewater: How Alcohol Is Killing My People (and Yours), shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for English-language non-fiction

This book will create a shift in consciousness for anyone who reads it. It provides deep understandings of Indigenous values, truths, and realities.

Alex Saunders, author of Aullâk: A Labrador Experience and the forthcoming Nine Days on the Land: Memoir of an Inuit Elder

The length and depth of Suzanne Keeptwo’s We All Go Back to the Land beautifully illustrates the importance of, and complexity behind, land acknowledgements.

Charlene Bearhead, Indigenous education activist, serves on the Pathways to Education Canada Indigenous Education Advisory Circle, Education Advisor on the Indigenous Peoples’ Atlas of Canada, author of the Siha Tooskin Knows series

Suzanne Keeptwo

Suzanne Keeptwo, Métis (Algonkin/French and Irish) of Québec, is both an artist and professional educator who merges traditional Anishinaabe Teachings and artistic expression to inform others about Indigenous historical truths and contemporary realities. She has worked across the country as a professional facilitator with host clients that include the Museum of Human Rights, McGill University, Full Circle: First Nations Performance, and the College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada. Suzanne is also a freelance writer, editor, and consultant, with expertise in bridging cultural gaps of understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.