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About territorial acknowledgement

Universities and reconciliation | University of Waterloo acknowledgement | Where and when we make the acknowledgment | About the Haldimand Tract


Public acknowledgement of the traditional territory upon which we all live is an important step toward reconciliation. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s final report calls for 94 actions toward restoring a balanced relationship between Indigenous peoples and settler communities in this country.

“It is so important to know who you are and where you come from, and to know who the original inhabitants are of the territory that we currently have the privilege to live, work and play on. Our relationship to place contributes to positive sense of culture and identity both as Indigenous peoples and as settler nations.”  
- Lori ACR Campbell, Director, Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre

Universities and reconciliation

Commitment to reconciliation actions is growing among post-secondary institutions and associations. The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) published a guide to territorial acknowledgment for Canadian universities, which includes the following: “[…] acknowledging territory is only the beginning of cultivating strong relationships with the First Peoples of Canada. CAUT encourages academic staff associations to reach out to local Aboriginal communities to open pathways for dialogue.”

Related links: Universities Canada, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

    University of Waterloo acknowledgment 

    We (or unit name) acknowledge that we live and work on the traditional territory of ‎ the Attawandaron (Neutral), Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. The University of Waterloo is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land promised to the Six Nations that includes ten kilometers on each side of the Grand River. 

    Where and when we make the acknowledgment

    Units and individual members of the Faculty of Arts, and colleagues across campus, are encouraged to acknowledge the land we occupy in any or all of the following ways:

    • Post the acknowledgement statement (shown above) on our websites: on the homepage, on the About page, or in the site footer.
    • Add the acknowledgement statement to UWaterloo email signature
    • Add the acknowledgement statement to course syllabi
    • Make the acknowledgement statement at commencement of courses, meetings, conferences, and presentations.

    1821 map of the Haldimand Tract

    1821 map by Thomas Rideout showing "Indian Lands" along the Grand River, a portion of the Haldimand Tract.

    2001 map of Haldimand Tract showing remaining section in Six Nations

    Contemporary map showing original Haldimand Tract and Six Nations territory as of 2001.

    About the Haldimand Tract

    On 25 October 1784, Sir Frederick Haldimand, the governor of Québec, signed a decree that granted a tract of land to the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), also known as the Six Nations, for their alliance with British forces during the American Revolution (1775-83). The Haldimand Tract extends by 10 kilometers on both sides of the Grand River, from its source in Dundalk Township to its mouth at Lake Erie. Originally, 950,000 acres was designated for the Haldimand Tract, today approximately 48,000 acres remain. Read more about the history and ongoing negotiations: Six Nations Lands and Resources.