Statement of Acknowledgement, Recognition and Respect

On March 01, 2021 City Council approved the Statement of Acknowledgement, Recognition and Respect that reads:

The City of Medicine Hat acknowledges that we live and work on treaty territory.

The City pays respect to all Indigenous Peoples and honours their past, present and future.

We recognize and respect their cultural heritages and relationships to the land.

 

Purpose and intent

The City of Medicine Hat has undertaken many activities and initiatives to create greater awareness and a deeper understanding and appreciation of local Indigenous and Metis history and culture. The Statement of Acknowledgement, Recognition and Respect is an opportunity to demonstrate further the City’s commitment to reconciliation and healing.

Additionally, the use of the statement will serve to:

  • Acknowledge and honour the history of Indigenous and Metis Peoples’ in the area and their connection to the land
  • Encourage education and understanding of Indigenous and Metis Peoples’ history
  • Honour and give respect to Indigenous and Metis cultures, practices and ways of knowing

Objectives of this guidance document

City Council, staff and volunteers can use this document to guide their practice and usage of the Statement of Acknowledgement, Recognition and Respect. 

Development of the Statement of Acknowledgement

The Historic Context Paper commissioned by the Heritage Resources Committee in 2013 describes Medicine Hat and the surrounding land as having “a deep and rich history spanning more than 10,000 years. First Nations settlement and interaction in this area, particularly along the cliffs and banks of the South Saskatchewan River, has made an indelible impression on the landscape.” Recognition of Indigenous and Metis history is integral to Medicine Hat’s identity.

In 2015, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada published 94 Calls to Action following a multi-year process initiated to listen to individuals and communities affected by the residential school system and share these experiences with Canadians who were unaware of this history. The Calls to Action are intended to help redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.

City Council directed City staff to prepare a Statement of Acknowledgement, Recognition and Respect following a recommendation from the Arts and Heritage Advisory Board that a statement be adopted in response to the Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Report and the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Rights.

The statement developed and approved was informed by the work of the Arts and Heritage Advisory Board, research of peer municipalities, and discussions with local stakeholders, including representatives from Miywasin Friendship Centre and Medicine Hat College. The City extends its thanks and appreciation to everyone who participated in the process.

Using the Statement of Acknowledgement

Statements acknowledging and recognizing the history of Indigenous and Metis people promote learning and knowledge sharing. The City’s Statement of Acknowledgement must be used appropriately and in its approved form to ensure the intended respect is demonstrated.

The Statement of Acknowledgement shall be used at events and in documents that expressly speak to the history of Indigenous and Metis Peoples and their connection to the land and/or celebrate their continued presence, culture and heritage in our community. Broader use is acceptable when usage satisfies the purpose and intent of the Statement of Acknowledgement. It is not, however, meant to be used in token fashion or as a platitude at every meeting or gathering or in every document or email.

The Statement of Acknowledgement must be:

  • Used in a meaningful and appropriate manner
  • Delivered or written in its full form

The Statement of Acknowledgement may be:

  • Referred to by its full name or as the Statement of Acknowledgement
  • Followed by additional information to demonstrate desire for deeper learning understanding and connect the audience to the history of the land and Indigenous and Metis People. (Example: If an art exhibition features a Blackfoot artist, you may share a story about the history of the Blackfoot Peoples in the area.)
  • Presented by an Indigenous or Metis Person, however, a non-Indigenous person should routinely be selected to deliver the Statement of Acknowledgement, Recognition and Respect to actively demonstrate respect and desire for reconciliation

The Statement of Acknowledgement must not be:

  • Issued as a welcome unless you are a local Indigenous or Metis Person. (Example: I would like to welcome you to the traditional territory of Indigenous and Metis peoples.”
  • Expanded to include other cultures and describe non-Indigenous or Metis history.
  • Associated with a specific graphic element

Using the Statement of Acknowledgement at in-person events

Prior to the event

  • Research the history of Indigenous and Metis Peoples in the area, seeking to connect documented or oral history to the purpose of the event.
  • Ensure you have the correct pronunciation of any Peoples to which you may be specifically referring.
  • Practice saying your message out loud.

At the event

  • Formally include the Statement of Acknowledgement at or near the beginning of the agenda. It may be delivered by the emcee, a senior official or an invited guest.
  • Announce the Statement of Acknowledgement will be made as part of its delivery. (Example: “At this time I would like to make the City’s Statement of Acknowledgement, Recognition and Respect. The City of Medicine Hat acknowledges that we live…” or “I would like to call to the stage PERSON NAME to deliver the City’s Statement of Acknowledgement, Recognition and Respect.)
  • Do not rush through the delivery; speak with intention. Pause before and after to allow for a moment of reflection.
  • Make eye contact with the audience. You are delivering an important message of reconciliation; ensure it is genuine and heartfelt.
  • The Statement of Acknowledgement should only be said once during the event.

In the case of an event hosted in the City by the Federal or Provincial Government, their statements of acknowledgements and protocol will prevail.

Tools and resources

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action

United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Rights

Medicine Hat is situated on

  • Treaty 7 and neighbour to Treaty 4 territory
  • Traditional lands of the Siksika (Blackfoot), Kainai (Blood), Piikani (Peigan), Stoney Nakoda, and Tsuut’ina (Sarcee) as well as the Cree, Sioux, and the Saulteaux bands of the Ojibwa peoples.
  • Homelands of the Métis Nation within Region Ill.