West Vancouver council is stepping away from the practice of beginning meetings with an Indigenous land acknowledgment.
When properly prepared in consultation with First Nations, land acknowledgments are typically seen as a show of respect and a step toward reconciliation. Today, they’re common at the start of public events, meetings and even in email signatures.
Following the 2018 election, West Vancouver council started every meeting with a statement read by the mayor.
“We acknowledge that we’re holding this meeting on the traditional ancestral and unceded territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the Musqueam Nation. We recognize and respect them as nations in this territory, as well as their historic connection to the lands and waters around us since time immemorial,” the statement read.
But Mayor Mark Sager said, going forward, the acknowledgment will appear written in the council agenda and not necessarily read out.
“In the future, the council has discussed this, it is our hope that we have a meaningful relationship with the First Nations – we do something more than just words,” he said after reading the council’s Indigenous land acknowledgment at the outset of the Nov. 14 meeting. “I do not want anyone to take it as any degree of disrespect by the fact that we will print this on future agendas and not necessarily read them out, and we trust that our First Nations friends will respect that decision as well.”
The City of North Vancouver council has been doing land acknowledgments since February 2021. District of North Vancouver council did its first land acknowledgment in the final meeting before the Oct. 15 election.