The University of Waterloo and its Faculty of Arts acknowledge that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg, and Haudenosaunee Peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is coordinated through the Office of Indigenous Relations.
It has become customary for University of Waterloo events, activities, and publications to feature an acknowledgement that signifies our awareness not only that the University’s main and Stratford campuses are located on Indigenous territorial and treaty lands, but also that treaty arrangements and relationships, while often ignored over the centuries, have never been rescinded. It is therefore incumbent upon us to recognize our respectful indebtedness to the Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee Peoples on whose traditional territories the University is situated.
The territorial acknowledgement on the part of the University of Waterloo and the Faculty of Arts is genuine and sincere, but such an acknowledgement on its own falls short of the institution’s goals of relationship-building with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples, incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing into our scholarship, our curriculum, and our community, and welcoming and integrating an Indigenous presence into our student, staff, and faculty bodies. Nor does it address the specific and general calls to action for the post-secondary sector (PDF)formulated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The Canadian Association of University Teachers’ guide to territorial acknowledgement states 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.
The University and the Faculty of Arts are committed to such outreach, dialogue, and pathway-building, and among the Affiliated and Federated Institutions of Waterloo, United College in particular has shown leadership in this field for some years. Arts will work together with the Office of Indigenous Relations, the AFIW, and the institution as a whole to bring about the transformation that we hope to see.