The International College of Manitoba recognizes its presence on the traditional territory of Anishinaabe (Ah- nish-in-ah-bay), Cree (Kree), Oji-Cree (Oh-jee-Kree), Dakota (Duh-koh-tuh) and Dene (De-ney) peoples, and the birthplace and homeland of the Métis (Mei-tee) Nation. Our presence on this traditional land is sustained by drinking water from the community of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation in Treaty 3 Territory and electricity from beyond Treaty 1 Territory, including Nelson River in Treaty 5 Territory. As part of the larger organization, Navitas, we respect all the Treaties going beyond Treaty 1 Territory, as well as ancestral and unceded homelands of Indigenous Peoples.
Land is sacred to Indigenous Peoples and acknowledging the land and territory which you are on is a long-standing Indigenous cultural practice. Land acknowledgements remind us whose original homelands we’re on and are an important practice to show respect for its original inhabitants while honouring the spirit of reconciliation. We as a community want to express our gratitude for the Indigenous Peoples of this land and their relatives who continue to care for the land.
As an educational organization welcoming newcomers, ICM acknowledges that although newcomers may not be responsible for the past harms done, we all benefit from this land and the dispossession of Indigenous Peoples. We witness the ongoing legacy of colonial oppression, systemic racism, and violence. We recognize that our privileges stemming from our cultural identities and access to resources allow us to thrive on these lands. We all have a responsibility to learn of past harms, to acknowledge present issues, and to commit to reconciliation for the future through thoughtful and intentional action.
Together we stand witness to the inherent resiliency, strength, conviction, and courage of Indigenous communities in overcoming adversity. We endeavour to cultivate self-awareness and compassion, relearn Canadian history and unlearn misperceptions that reinforce discrimination of Indigenous Peoples. As a partner to Winnipeg’s Indigenous Accord, we are committed to moving forward in partnership with Indigenous communities in a spirit of reconciliation and collaboration to ensure an inclusive safe space for everyone.
In Canada, Indigenous Peoples have lived on and cared for the land for thousands of years. This means that most Canadians are newcomers, whether they just arrived in Canada or their families settled here in past centuries. As the land of what we now call Canada was settled by various populations, numbered Treaties, or agreements, were negotiated as a means to ensure Indigenous People have access to land, resources, and other supports. However, with each wave of settlement, many Indigenous Peoples were displaced from their traditional lands and ways of life. They faced massive attempts to separate them from the land, assimilate them, and erase their presence from settler histories and public life.
In 1869, in what is now Manitoba, the land was unrightfully sold to the Canadian Government without the consent or consideration of Indigenous inhabitants. In the province of Manitoba, the city of Winnipeg falls under Treaty 1, which was signed on August 3, 1871. Seven First Nations are part of the signing of this treaty: Brokenhead Ojibway, Sagkeeng, Long Plain, Peguis, Roseau River Anishinabe, Sandy Bay and Swan Lake. Those who live in Winnipeg, Portage La Prairie, Selkirk, Steinbach, Emerson and Winkler enjoy the benefits and responsibilities of this treaty. If you would like to learn more about Treaty 1 you can visit the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba.
Following the signing of Treaty 1, in 1876, the Government of Canada introduced the Indian Act which allowed for the removal of rights and liberties as well as the cultural genocide of Indigenous Peoples across Canada. As a result, between 1880 and 1996 over 150,000 children were forcibly separated from their families and made to attend residential schools where they were forced to unlearn their languages and culture while suffering widespread abuse.
Through over-representation of Indigenous Peoples in the criminal justice system and the child welfare system, there remains a substantial negative impact on mental health, wellbeing, and safety of Indigenous Peoples throughout the community. Moreover, those impacted the most are Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people. Many Indigenous Peoples continue to struggle within the vicious cycle of intergenerational trauma and it is important to remain vigilant in continuing to engage in acts of acknowledgement, reconciliation and advancement of Indigenous Peoples throughout our own communities and Canada as a whole.
It is important to note that intergenerational trauma is not just experienced by Canadian Indigenous communities, but in other parts of the world that have also been colonized. The concept of intergenerational trauma is described in more detail in the video immediately following this paragraph.
There remains much to be done as efforts continue to recognize and amend for actions of the past, but progress is being made. In 2015 the Government of Canada introduced the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action which acknowledges the harms and mistakes of the past while providing a path for all communities, including educational institutions like the International College of Manitoba, to take meaningful action towards reconciliation.
Diversity of Culture and Language
In the present day, the province of Manitoba is home to a culturally diverse group of people. Aside from First Nations, the province of Manitoba also recognizes the Métis and the Inuit. It’s important to note that from a legal context First Nations people can be defined as Status and non-Status Indians. The term ‘Indian’ in this context is used to refer to specific legal distinctions as defined by the Indian Act. Outside of this context, the term ‘Indian’ should not be used when referring to First Nations people. You can learn more on Indigenous Peoples terminology guidelines by visiting Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. For clarity, the term non-Status Indians commonly refers to people who identify themselves as Indians but who are not entitled to registration on the Indian Register pursuant to the Indian Act. Status Indians, however, have a legal right to be included on the Indian Register. If you would like to learn more, visit Aboriginal Demography by the University of Manitoba.
Within the province, there are five main First Nation linguistic groups: Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe), Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene. If you would like to learn more about traditional First Nation community names across the province of Manitoba, please visit this interactive community map from The Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre.
Michif is the most common language spoken by Métis peoples, but not the only language spoken. To learn more about Indigenous languages of Manitoba, visit Indigenous Languages of Manitoba Inc. You can also find more information of the languages spoken by Métis peoples by visiting The Canadian Encyclopedia.
Winnipeg’s Indigenous Accord
The City of Winnipeg launched Winnipeg’s Indigenous Accord as a tool to support Indigenous and non-Indigenous Winnipeggers come together to seek opportunities for consultation and collaboration relating to the 94 Calls to Action, allowing for meaningful progress towards reconciliation. Member organizations commit to annual goals and report regularly on their progress.
Some of the initiatives we will undertake in our first year of joining Winnipeg’s Indigenous Accord include:
Provide education sessions for administrative and instructional staff on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations.
Develop and implement a terms of reference for a professional development committee that outlines commitment and serves as accountability framework to providing learning opportunities and skills-based training for instructional and administrative staff in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.
Provide learning opportunities for instructors on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms.
Develop a land acknowledgement with supporting resources to educate newcomers and college staff on our privilege to live and learn on Treaty-1 land and our responsibility to learn of past harms, to acknowledge present issues, and to commit to reconciliation for the future through thoughtful and intentional action. These resources will be incorporated in the Interactive Learning Series support course that all new students take in their first term of studies.
Initiate discussions for the development and launch of an academic course that incorporates information on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada.