Plenary Session

“Rethinking the Practice and Performance of Indigenous Land Acknowledgement”

With increasing frequency since the conclusion of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools, practices and protocols of land acknowledgement have emphasized the need to publicly recognize the lands we live on and gather upon as Indigenous. With this rise of acknowledgment, such practices have also become standardized. At best, the repetition of standardized acknowledgement raises consciousness of whose Indigenous territories one is situated in; at worst it acts as what Sarah Ahmed calls a “non-performative” speech act, a performance that stands in for substantive forms of reparation and decolonization.The participants on this plenary ask: How are Indigenous protocols of acknowledgement and welcome practiced within different Indigenous communities? Does the acknowledgment of Indigenous lands and waterways elide the acknowledgment of other forms of structural and epistemic violence within the specific contexts we work in as academics and artists? How might acknowledgement be aligned with a politics of recognition (Coulthard) that is a continuation of Settler Colonial logics rather than a break from them? What must occur for acts of acknowledgment to transform into actions that effect Indigenous sovereignty? How might acknowledgement be “actioned” differently by Settler Canadians, “arrivants”, immigrants, displaced peoples and visitors? How can standardized forms of acknowledgement give way to context- and site-specific forms of redress?

Kanonhsyonne Janice Hill (Director of Indigenous Initiatives, Queen’s University)
Lisa C. Ravensbergen (Queen’s University)
Dylan Robinson (CRC in Indigenous Arts, Queen’s University)
Selena Couture (University of Alberta)

Plenary sponsors:

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Wednesday May 30, 2018 11:15 – 12:30
Concert Hall, Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts