Thursday, 29 June 2017

Acknowledgement of the Land

Our municipality and school have the name, "Assiginack".  I asked the students if they knew who Assiginack was.  A few students responded that he was a chief, but did not know anything about his significance.  I challenged the students to find out who Assiginack was.

They began researching and sharing information about Jean Baptiste Assiginack and ultimately learning about the history of the Manitoulin Treaties.   Students discovered that Manitoulin Island was originally home to the Ojibwa, Odawa, and Potawatomi.  In 1836, Manitoulin Island was designated as a refuge for all Indigenous people.  Later, the government decided to open Manitoulin Island to non-Indigenous settlement.  J.B. Assiginack supported the idea, but most of the chiefs did not.  A treaty was signed in 1862 where most of Manitoulin Island was relinquished to the Crown.  The chiefs of Wiikwemkoong refused to sign the treaty.  As a result, the eastern peninsula of the Island remains unceded Indigenous land. 

Upon learning the history of the municipality, the students decided to write an acknowledgement to the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi and their traditional territory.  They met with the principal of the school to request that the acknowledgement of territory be read every morning before O'Canada.  They used ETFO's Acknowledgment of Territory as a reference. 

Students began to read the Acknowledgement of Territory during morning annoucements on June 28.

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