A question about our land acknowledment (There are A LOT of Inuit people in Treaty Six!)
Earlier in the year we recieved an email from someone with an interesting question about our land acknowledment.
Indigenous Box comes to you from Treaty Six Territory in Alberta. We are proud to live and work here and we make sure to acknowledge that pride right on our website.
Check it out:
The question went like this:
I need some explanations about how come the treaty 6 territory can be "home" for Inuit people since it's in the middle of the prairies, covering Calgary and Saskatchewan as Inuit people's land is traditionally up North in Yukon, NWT, Nunavut, Northern QC and Newfoundland/Labrador.
Well this sparked an interesting conversaton at Indigenous Box as some team members didn't know how to answer this.
So we asked our founder Mallory why she included this in her acknowledment.
Here was her response:
Edmonton is home to a place called the Charles Camsell Indian Hospital. Over many decades thousands of Inuit people were taken from their communities and flown to this hospital with no intention of returning them to their homes or families. As a result many Inuit people took Treaty 6 as their home and started families here. Edmonton has the largest urban Inuit population of any major city in Canada and even has an association called the Edmonton Inuit Cultural Society dedicated to serving this population. For this reason we acknowledge this territory as their home as well.
Understanding the history of institutions like the Charles Camsell is vitally important for Canadians and certainly for Edmontonians. Many if not most non-Indigenous people have no idea the terrible pain and suffering that existed in places like this.
Learning about the history of Inuit people in Treaty Six provides context for our land acknowledgement, and it also provides context for people like some Edmonton sports fans who might not understand why the long overdue changing of the local football team name was not a trivial matter.
To learn more about the impact of the Charles Camsell Indian Hospital, check out this article from Dr. Norma Dunning, an Inuk writer, professor and researcher.