We respectfully acknowledge the land on which we gather as the ancestral homelands of the Beothuk [bee-oth-uck], whose culture has been lost forever and can never be recovered. We also acknowledge the island of Ktaqmkuk [uk-dah-hum-gook] (Newfoundland) as the unceded, traditional territory of the Beothuk and the Mi’kmaq [mee-gum-maq]. And we acknowledge Labrador as the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Innu [in-new] of Nitassinan [ne-tass-eh-nen], the Inuit [in-new-eet] of Nunatsiavut [nu-nat-see-ah-vut], and the Innit of NunatuKavut [nu-nah-tuhk-ah-vut]. We recognize all First peoples who were here before us, those who live with us now, and the seven generations to come. As First Peoples have done since time immemorial, we strive to be responsible stewards of the land and to respect the cultures, ceremonies, and traditions of all who call it home. As we open our hearts and minds to the past, we commit ourselves to working in a spirit of truth and reconciliation to make a better future for all.
National Indigenous Peoples Day (NIPD) is June 21, an annual day in Canada celebrating and recognizing the heritage of Indigenous peoples in our community and country. There are more than 630 First Nation communities in Canada, which represent more than 50 Nations and 50 Indigenous languages.
As allies of the Indigenous community, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves, support the Indigenous community, amplify the voices and experiences of Indigenous populations, and on NIPD and beyond to celebrate the heritage and contributions of Indigenous peoples. Over the past year, Choices for Youth (CFY) has engaged its staff in the responsibility to educate ourselves and several of our staff have received certification from First Light NL in Indigenous Cultural Diversity Training. As an organization, we envision a world free to social and economic barriers, where young people feel able and encouraged to pursue their aspirations and potential without limitations to their cultural backgrounds or identities.
How to Celebrate
Wondering how to celebrate? Our friends at First Light have created some simple ways you can celebrate with your coworkers, friends and family. In addition to events on June 21st, First Light will also be hosting a series of workshops from local and visiting performers.
Part of our responsibility as settlers on this land is reconciliation, and reconciliation can start with learning the history of Indigenous peoples in this province and throughout the country; currently, The Rooms has exhibits highlighting the impact of residential schools as well exhibits that tell the heritage and traditions of the Innu through their stories and material culture. You can also celebrate with others across the country by watching live streams and programming hosted by CBC, showcasing First Nations, Mètis and Inuit perspectives and experiences.
We encourage our community to learn more about Indigenous cultures and its vast history, by visiting First Light and participating in courses such as Indigenous Cultural Diversity training. You can learn more, or book a course, by visiting the First Light website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about land acknowledgements, please visit firstlightnl.ca