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With Gratitude we Acknowledge this Land and its People

Last week marked National Indigenous Peoples Day. At Black and Associates, we continue to reflect on and celebrated the unique heritage, traditions, and knowledge of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples.

We ask you to consider taking a moment each day to acknowledge that we continue to live on the unsurrendered, unceded territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin People. Reflect on the beauty of this land and what it provides; the history of Canada's First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples; the ongoing impact of colonialism; and our commitment to reconciliation.

Colonialism is not just a historical problem. As many of us are settlers on this land it is our collective responsibility to pay respect and recognize that this means that this land was taken through predominantly violent, non consensual means. In this recognition we must continue to be allies to the indigenous communities in their resilience, resistance, and self-determination in all spaces, actions, and words. Land acknowledgements do not exist in a past tense, or historical context. Colonialism is a current and ongoing process, and we need to be mindful of our present participation and the need for respect in what we say and do each day.

Long before today, the Algonquin People have inhabited and cared for this land. We take this moment to show our gratitude to them, and we thank the land for all that it provides us, the food and water that sustain us, the trees that provide shade, and the roads and paths that keep us connected. As legal practitioners, it is crucial that we join our predecessors and neighbours on this land in assuming the responsibility to protect the land for the next generations and to help ensure that these generations share our respect and gratitude for all that this land provides.

While official recognition of National Indigenous Peoples Day dates back to 1996, June 21st has been an important day for many generations of Indigenous groups and communities. Not only is it a day to celebrate their culture, history and presence on this land, it is also the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Traditionally, June 21st has been a day of cultural significance and celebration throughout history in many indigenous cultures.  

Until recently, many of the contributions of Indigenous Peoples to our communities had not been well known. National Indigenous Peoples Day is a day for all Canadians to recognize and embrace the diversity and rich history of First Nations, Inuit and Métis culture. Indigenous Peoples have made profound contributions to Canada’s past, present and future and they continue to make important contributions in advancing scientific knowledge, equity, arts and community, to name a few.

We are grateful for these important contributions in shaping our communities and national identity.

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