Territorial Acknowledgement

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Public acknowledgement of the traditional territory upon which we all live is an important step toward reconciliation

University of Waterloo Territorial Acknowledgement

The University of Waterloo acknowledges 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 centralized within the Office of Indigenous Relations

Where and when we make the acknowledgement

Departments, offices and individual members of the University are strongly encouraged to acknowledge the land we occupy in any or all of the following ways:

  • While the Waterloo territorial acknowledgement is placed across all website footers associated with main campus, departments and units are encouraged to create supplementary acknowledgements that speak directly to their work and those engaged in this work
  • Ground the acknowledgement with action and connect it to current work in your discipline/area
  • 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

Land vs. Territorial Acknowledgments

While the terms land acknowledgement and territorial acknowledgement are often used interchangeably, they are different, and the situation will determine if there is a need for a land acknowledgement or a territorial acknowledgment. 

Land acknowledgments are statements focused on physical land, land use, spiritual connection to the land. They often express thanks and/or a connectedness of the event, workplace, meeting, and/or ceremony to the land on which these happenings are taking place.

Territorial acknowledgements recognize and pay respect to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people and their traditional and/or current geographical territories on which we live and work upon. They often include mention of the associated treaty or treaties to the geographic location.

Universities and 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. We encourage campus community members to not only acknowledge the traditional territory on which University of Waterloo resides, but to also ground this acknowledgement with action.

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 link: Universities Canada