Land Acknowledgment

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Statement on Territorial Acknowledgement 

In this page, we present the text of our Territorial Acknowledgement, break down each sentence, provide historical and cultural context for words used and explain their meaning. 

Territorial Acknowledgement

The McConnell Foundation office sits on ancestral and unceded Indigenous territory, a place known as Tiohtiá:ke in Kanien’kéha and Mooniyang in Anishinaabemowin. We recognize that the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation are stewards of the lands and waters of this territory, which has long been a place where meetings and exchanges among nations have occurred. 


Why does McConnell have a Territorial Acknowledgement?

The McConnell Foundation recognizes the past, present and future contributions of the Indigenous peoples who, since time immemorial, have occupied the territory on which its office sits.

This acknowledgement is meant to pay tribute and give respect, indispensable to healthy and reciprocal relations with Indigenous peoples, and to the reconciliation process. We take care in the statement to emphasize particularly the Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk) Nation, the presence and influence of which are manifest on the island of Montreal, known as Tiohtiá:ke in the Kanien’kéha language.

This territorial acknowledgement constitutes a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as well as to the call issued by the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) to civil society organizations, urging them to make a commitment to work towards reconciliation. Our relationship to Tiohtiá:ke / Mooniyang / Montreal is deeply rooted, and we wish to continue contributing to its economic reconciliation, its diverse communities, its lands and waters for future generations.

The McConnell Foundation wishes to acknowledge that its office sits on ancestral and unceded Indigenous territory.

Discoveries at certain archaeological sites have shown that the island of Montreal has been inhabited for at least 5,500 years. The term “unceded territory” means that no agreement or treaty has transferred any eventual title or control over the territory from any Indigenous Nation to colonizers.

According to oral tradition, Montreal is also part of the ancestral territory of several First Nations, including the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and the Anishinaabeg (Algonquin). It is also a site where, long before the French had established themselves, several Indigenous peoples were interacting with each other.

The Foundation wishes to acknowledge all Indigenous peoples and Nations that regarded – and still regard – these lands and waters as a place of belonging.

Tiohtiá:ke / Mooniyang (Montreal) has historically been known as a site for interaction, and a gathering place, for various Nations.

Analyses of archaeological finds, as well as accounts associated with the oral traditions of various Indigenous nations, have shown that Montreal has long been a gathering site and a site for diplomacy among First Nations, as well a place where alliances were created with the first European immigrants. The existence of the travel routes constituted by the St. Lawrence River and its tributaries have resulted in Montreal becoming a crucial hub. It is for this reason that the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) people gave this site the name Tiohtià:ke, which means “where the currents divide/unite”.

We recognize the Kanien’keha:ka Nation, also known as the Mohawk Nation, as stewards of the lands and waters.

Many peoples, communities and nations contributed to the founding of Tiohtiá:ke / Mooniyang (Montreal). However, it is understood, and commonly recognized, that the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation is the one that has been present for several hundred years. It therefore can be considered, in a certain way, the host Indigenous Nation of the territory on which the Foundation’s main office sits.

This section of the statement also considers the oral tradition relating to the island of Montreal that the Kanien’kehá:kas have passed from generation to generation, that is, one that recounts their role as protectors of the lands and waters.


Expressed verbally

Territorial or Land Acknowledgements are meant to be expressed verbally. Our Territorial Acknowledgement’s text was written and reviewed in consultation with our Indigenous partners and validated with local First Nations. This living text, in the oral tradition, is spoken before meetings and gatherings in Tiohtiá:ke / Mooniyang / Montreal.