Territorial acknowledgement

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 coordinated within the Office of Indigenous Relations.

Public acknowledgement of the traditional territory upon which we all live is an important step toward reconciliation. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’sfinal 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, Former Director, Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre

University 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 acknowledgement 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 CanadaFederation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Indigenous Initiatives Office

Jean Becker, senior director of Indigenous Initatives and Interim AVP, Human Rights, Equity & Inclusion, heads theIndigneous Initiatives Office, a central hub for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis researchers, faculty and staff, along with allies within the University of Waterloo campus community. Additionally, the office provides guidance, support and resources to develop a shared vision towards the goal of reconciliation.  

Where and when we make the acknowledgement

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

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

Contemporary map showing original Haldimand Tract and Six Nations territory as of 2015.

Contemporary map showing original Haldimand Tract and Six Nations territory as of 2015. 

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.