I decided to take the time and write this Algonquin Anishinaabe land acknowledgement. Go ahead and print it out and use it when you are opening an event in Algonquin territory.
Currently we are on Algonquin Anishinaabeg traditional territory. The Algonquin were one of the first Indigenous Nations that Champlain recorded as he travelled up the Kichesippi, now called the Ottawa River.
Algonquin territory consists of 48 million acres inclusive of rivers, lakes, boreal forests, rock, trees, four legged, winged, and finned. Through the creation of Upper and Lower Canada, now Ontario and Quebec, and through the French surrendering and ceding land that they did not own, the Algonquin Anishinaabeg have been divided along the very river that once united us. Through the overlay of Canada the nation state and the imposition of a provincial federal order, the Algonquin are divided by language, law, and religion. While 39 million acres is in Quebec, 9 million is in Ontario.
Through processes of genocide inherent in processes of colonization, which continues today, the Algonquin have been relegated to small plots of land. There are ten federally recognized communities made up of registered status members: one in Ontario and nine in Quebec. As suggested these communities reside on only small fractions of the larger Algonquin Anishinaabeg traditional territory. Pikwàkanagàn First Nation’s land base consists of a mere 1,561 acres; Barriere Lake only 59; while Wolf Lake has been denied a land base altogether. There are also many communities in Ontario, made up of mostly non-status members, that have been more formally organized to accommodate the federal government’s need to define Indigenous rights in narrow terms and they all lack their own collective land bases known as reserve lands.
The Kichesippi has been subject to the logging, hydroelectric, nuclear power, and the fishing and sport hunting industries. These industries have clogged the Great River, flooded important landscapes, and are currently dumping radio-active particles in the river. What is more, the nuclear industry is also warming the river using the water to cool down nuclear reactors.
Although the Algonquin Anishinaabeg were emissaries during the 1764 Treaty at Niagara, and many of the men fought on the side of the British during the 1776 American revolution, and during WW1 and WW2, Algonquin were and are continually denied the jurisdiction to their land and resources.
Indigenous knowledge philosophy is a life way that situates humans within a broader context of the natural world versus a religion selectively practiced. Within this philosophy, the Four Sacred Elements ‒ Water, Rock, Wind, and Fire ‒ are valued as more intelligent. As such, places where they intersect are sacred. In addition, while many people think Indigenous people of Turtle Island lack a tradition of symbolic literacy, in actuality the Anishinaabeg inscribed stories, knowledge, and important messages within the land and waterscapes of their territory. Akikpautik is where Creator placed the First Sacred Pipe, the ultimate expression of Reconciliation between Nations, Humans, and the Natural World.
Today there are more non-status than status Algonquin and many of us reside outside of our traditional territory.
Lynn Gehl, Ph.D. is an Algonquin Anishinaabe-kwe from the Ottawa River Valley. In 2017 she won an Ontario Court of Appeal case on sex discrimination in The Indian Act, and is an outspoken critic of the Algonquin land claims process. Recently she published Claiming Anishinaabe: Decolonizing the Human Spirit. You can reach her through, and see more of her work, at www.lynngehl.com
10/10/2018 09:16:57 am
Our reserve Timiskaming First Nation is in direct connection with this land claim and we will not be silenced as some have tired too do so... glad too see this map and perhaps all people will be involved moving matters forward Algonquins Of Ontario and Algonquins of Quebec,
Laura Mary Ann Thomerson
9/30/2021 04:58:13 pm
Hi everyone , I am happy to have this info to read and I too and a band member for Timiskaming First Nation . Very informative .Thanks
10/10/2018 05:19:29 pm
Thank you for writing this. I am grateful to have learned more about Algonkin Anishnaabe lands.
10/30/2018 11:55:03 am
Yesterday I read an op-ed piece in the London Free Press by Patrick Mascoe. In this piece, he claims that think territorial acknowledgments are “meaningless and patronizing “. Did he quote you accurately?
10/30/2018 04:24:21 pm
I am not sure where he pulled it from but I would say yes I do feel that land acknowledgements without practical and meaningfull respect for Indigenous jurisdiction are patronizing.
5/6/2020 09:40:54 am
Thank you for the enlightening article. I am conducting research with my son's school projects who is in grade 5: Earth Rangers, Ottawa Riverkeepers, etc. An unsolved mystery: where was the original Barriere Lake located, and was the stone weir of 'Mitchikanibikok Inik' one place or many? Shiri Pasternak's thesis mentions that Ottawa river was ten feet across at this Centre of the world
Do you have a statement that we can add to the land recognition that recognizes that we still have work to do to help indigenous people and communities with socio-economic issues - education, health care, housing, employment, etc. etc.
12/16/2020 06:46:33 am
Thank you for publishing this acknowledgement and historical summary. I feel a great need to commit to learning the history as well as identifying what a healthy allyship with the Anishinaabe and with the land might look like in present day circumstances...with the consideration of the trauma involved caused by 'genocide inherent in colonization process' ...as well as rediscovering self through my personal struggle with being a settler-non-indigenous participant and what part did my ancestors play in the trauma induced process inflicted on the Algonquin Anishinaabeg people and traditional territory... there is so much work to do in resurgence and reconciliation..
5/11/2021 01:15:20 pm
Meegwetch for writing and sharing this.
6/29/2021 07:18:34 am
Thank you for taking the time to write this and I am thankful to learn about Algonkin Anishnaabe lands.
7/31/2021 04:24:11 pm
Thank you very much! I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about my local history!
6/4/2022 06:07:22 am
This is a beautiful acknowledgement and I too am grateful for your teachings.
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