Kijâtai-Alexandra Veillette-Cheezo is studying journalism at UQAM. She is a member of the Anichinabe Nation and her family hails from the Lac-Simon community, in Abitibi. She is involved in the Montreal cultural community and in the 2SLGBTQI+ community, plus has made short films using Wapikoni mobile.
When I saw the ad for the hockey club, I must admit that it was the first time I had dwelled on a topic surrounding the world of sports. However, it is common to hear more and more organizations talk about the regional survey. This is the case in public events, before professional meetings, before political discourse .. a tradition that does not go back to yesterday.
It must be remembered that this confession was originally an original custom. It was the respect and thanksgiving of a nation that received another. I can attest to this from my travels in different societies: the custom still exists between societies.
Today, however, this sign of recognition has become a tool for mending the bonds between indigenous and non-indigenous people. It is an act of goodwill that promotes reconciliation, if you will.
However, it is necessary to find out who is extravagant in this confession, what are the intentions behind this gesture and how this confession is expressed.
In the case of the statement made before the Canadians’ home game, reactions were mixed. Some applaud this initiative, others question the intentions or even request that more text be identified by the advertiser.
Indigenous peoples and their traditions, cultures and languages are related to the land and waters inhabiting it. There is no such concept of property imposed by the colonial system. Instead, it is the principles of coexistence and sharing that apply. So it is only natural to recognize the region in which it is located and the nation it occupies in order to develop a relationship of trust.
Intentions are good. You just have to do them well
So the regional poll is being used today first to work on repairing our relationships. In fact, that’s how they started. On the other hand, we are currently criticizing the lack of concrete actions behind these beautiful words. Also, before recognizing a region, it is necessary to know the history of this region. It is also necessary to understand why recognition is necessary.
I notice confusion among the residents, first of all, about the history of the area in which the city of Montreal is located. That is why I believe that we must conduct our research in a comprehensive manner and combine indigenous knowledge with the knowledge of non-native historians. With the aim of faithfully recognizing the various indigenous peoples who inhabited and continue to inhabit this area.
There are many resources on the Internet. The Quebec Interuniversity Network in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (RQEDI), for example, offers us a very interesting tool. (A new window). The Bulletin on Regional Recognition in the Context of the University of Quebec has been prepared in collaboration with Indigenous and non-Indigenous academia and with external advisors, and offers a step-by-step method for developing regional recognition.
You can also find context, links to other resources, and avenues for thinking. So I would say this is a good place to start. To also determine our location and mark the region in which we are located, there is a website (A new window) We can consult with her.
My personal experience
I remember the time I was asked to do a regional survey. I did not feel legitimate to do so and hesitated to accept. Then I started reclaiming my culture.
But as a member of the Anichinabe Nation, I wanted to thank the nation that occupied the land I lived in and realized that this was part of my decolonization process. So I called a senior from Kanien’kehà: ka. This person was very happy to give me his advice.
However, I did my own research so as not to hold her responsible for educating myself. In the regional recognition proposed by Concordia University (A new window)Territory is declared unrestricted and original.
Then it is added that Kanien’kehà: ka is the nation and the guardian of land and water. So I based on this and spoke from my heart as I spoke out and recognized the lands.
It was not perfect, because I had a lot to learn, but the important thing was my will to honor the ancestors who roamed these lands and the nation that is the guardian of them.
I still have more to learn today. Like all of us. It is part of the decolonization process and
localization. This does not happen overnight.
But the first steps are being taken little by little. As seen with the Montreal Canadiens. It shows that we are moving in our thoughts. Just don’t expect acknowledgments to be enough to fix our ties.
Confessions must be followed up with concrete and well-written actions, with sincere intentions.
They announce a continuation, not an end point.
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