Humber River Hospital has implemented a Land Acknowledgment that has significance to our Hospital, the land around Humber, and to our Indigenous communities. Our Land Acknowledgment was created in consultation with Elder Little Brown Bear, Director of Aboriginal Education, Programs, Culture and the Aboriginal Healing Program at Michael Garron Hospital.
Why do a Land Acknowledgement?
The recent events involving former residential schools have been troubling to many of us and it is important that we pause and think about the path forward. We are aware that there is still much work to do. However, the development and implementation of a Land Acknowledgment is a critical step for an organization in the path of reconciliation between non-Aboriginal and First Nation, Métis and Inuit Peoples of Canada. Land Acknowledgements are a recommendation from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. You can find all recommendations and calls to action here.
The purpose of the Land Acknowledgment is to raise awareness of First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples presence and land rights, as well as acknowledge our presence on the land as visitors and as a part of colonial history. In addition, it allows us to recognize the history of colonialism and harms done by settlers to the First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities and its members. Land Acknowledgments also recognize how everything is connected together between the land and its community and its members by honouring the Elders’ many traditions, and ceremonies.
Humber River Hospital’s Land Acknowledgement
As a visitor on this land, I (we) acknowledge that Humber River Hospital is situated in the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, Haudenosaunee, and Huron-wendat (Wyandot) territory. This land was part of Toronto Purchase, Treaty 13. The Humber River has a long history. The Toronto Carrying-Place Trail, also known as the Humber Portage and the Toronto Passage, was a major portage route in Ontario, Canada, linking Lake Ontario with Lake Simcoe and the northern Great Lakes and was used by First Nations people for thousands of years to travel between Georgian Bay or Lake Simcoe and Lake Ontario. The Mississaugas called the Humber River Cobechenonk, which means ‘leave the canoes and go back’.
[Positionality and Personalization]: As a settler myself, I acknowledge the immense harm we have caused to Indigenous peoples across this land and commit to actively working towards reconciliation.
• Anishnabeg: Awe – Nish – Nah – Beck (plural for Anishnabee)
• Haudenosaunee: Hoe – De – Nah – Show – Nee
• Wendat: When – Dat
• Inuit: (ee) (nu) (eet)
• Métis: May – Tee
At Humber River Hospital, the Land Acknowledgement is to be used before board meetings, President’s Forums, large meetings, conferences and retreats.
History of the Humber River Area
The land the city of Toronto occupies is Treaty 13. The Crown needed to consolidate its settlements along the north shore of Lake Ontario to Niagara and settled with the Mississaugas of the Credit to “purchase” the lands. This purchase guaranteed the right of the Mississaugas to harvest on and access to the Etobicoke Creek.
The Mississaugas of the Credit occupied, controlled and exercised stewardship over approximately 3.9 million acres of lands, waters, and resources in Southern Ontario. Their territory extended from the Rouge River Valley westward across to the headwaters of the Thames River, down to Long Point on Lake Erie and then followed the shoreline of Lake Erie, the Niagara River, and Lake Ontario until arriving back at the Rouge River Valley.
The Huron-Wendat nations, with colonization, and the movement of nations to the South of Lake Ontario moving north, were pushed out of this area, and some ended up joining other nations within what would become Ontario. There were other Wyandot nations in the United States as well, in what is now the states of Kansas and Oklahomas.
Haudenosaunee, commonly known as the Iroquois Confederacy, was comprised of five nations: The Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida, Onondaga and Mohawk, and then later became Six Nations with the joining of the Tuscarora. The Haudenosaunee have historically lived in the land extending from the Gensee River in the west, through the Finger Lakes regions to the Hudson River in the east.
We have encouraged our staff to use the Land Acknowledgment when appropriate, but we also encourage all to look into the land they are on and develop their own Land Acknowledgment.