Or are things like territorial acknowledgments and teaching circles and urban Indigenous strategies mere blips on a very long continuum?
An art installation for 2017 Supercrawl last September entitled, "Abnormally Aboriginal" by Six Nations photographer Shelley Niro. She’s noted for her photographs that challenge stereotypes of Indigenous women. – Hamilton Spectator file photo Rebecca Jamieson, president of the Six Nations Polytechnic holds a two row wampum, the symbol of two peoples living separately but harmoniously. – Gary Yokoyama,The Hamilton Spectator
Six Nations Polytechnic presidient Rebecca Jamieson holding a two row wampum, the symbol of two peoples living separately but harmoniously. – Gary Yokoyama,The Hamilton Spectator
“Anishinaabe waadiziwin: The Trail Experience" at Cootes Paradise opened in September, and includes readings on Indigenous plants and history. – Jon Wells,The Hamilton Spectator
Kaitlin Debicki has Indigenous roots and did her PhD with a focus on the connection between trees and Indigenous literature; she often takes walks in the woods and will stop to talk to trees and even hug them. She’s seen here along the RBG trail that runs between the McMaster campus and Westdale. – Cathie Coward,The Hamilton Spectator
At McMaster the Indigenous Studies program created an outdoor meeting place overlooking Cootes Paradise. – Hamilton Spectator file photo
"Unity," by Shelley Niro, from the collection of the artist. Her work is featured at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. – Courtesy of Shelley Niro
Shylo Elmayan, the city’s manager for urban indigenous strategy. – Hamilton Spectator file photo
It was the spring of 2016 when perhaps the first local public declaration was made.
It was this: what most Hamiltonians think of as their home, is in one sense, not.
It was McMaster University convocation, at Hamilton Place, named after founding father George Hamilton — he of Scottish blood and Queenston Heights birthplace — and the ceremony began with a man carrying a silver mace on stage, the symbol of the authority of the Queen.
The incongruity of the colonial-themed setting was not lost on cerebral McMaster president Patrick Deane, who announced:
"I will end where at future convocations I intend us to start, by recognizing and acknowledging that we meet on the traditional territories of the Mississauga and Haudenosaunee nations, and within the lands protected by the Dish With One Spoon wampum agreement."
Similarly-worded territorial acknowledgments now open city council meetings and community events ranging from a YMCA peace medal breakfast to a celebration of the Baha’i faith.
Since September it has been the prelude to the school day for many Hamilton students during morning announcements — a "best practice" urged by the public school board, although not yet the Catholic board which has confined the acknowledgment to board meetings.
(It perhaps brings into question the fate of another morning ritual for students, singing "O Canada," and the lyrics "Our home and native land.")Does the ubiquity of these acknowledgments, along with developments in education, art and culture, suggest we are in the midst of a powerful Indigenous moment of reconciliation, and reckoning; history clearing its throat when considering the long and often painful relationship between two peoples?
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