President Gervan Fearon on Brock’s Land Acknowledgement and Indigenous initiatives

Brock University has a formal Land Acknowledgement that is integral to the identity and underlying values of the University community.

The Land Acknowledgement is integrated into the proceedings of activities across the University — from Board and Senate meetings to Convocation and faculty-staff gatherings. Brock’s Land Acknowledgement reads as follows: 

Brock University acknowledges the land on which we gather is the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples, many of whom continue to live and work here today. 

This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties and is within the land protected by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Agreement.

Today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and acknowledging reminds us that our great standard of living is directly related to the resources and friendship of Indigenous people. 

Each individual reflects on Brock University’s Land Acknowledgement in their own way. However, the commonality is the respectful and sincere recognition and conclusion found in the acknowledgment’s final paragraph of “Today, this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and acknowledging reminds us that our great standard of living is directly related to the resources and friendship of Indigenous people.”

Brock University’s Strategic Plan reinforces our commitment to the Land Acknowledgement with a specific strategic priority approved by the Board of Trustees and Senate to “foster a culture of inclusivity, accessibility, reconciliation and decolonization.”

Since the establishment of the Strategic Plan in 2018, we have taken definitive steps to advance this strategic priority and to honour our Land Acknowledgement. These steps have included the establishment of the position of Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement; announcing an Indigenous Research Grant; supporting cultural events and activities including Celebration of Nations and the Weengushk International Film Festival organized by former Chancellor Dr. Shirley Cheechoo; and recognizing the important roles of Indigenous leaders during the War of 1812 by installing memorial tributes to John Brant and John Norton, working with our Trustee Michele-Elise Burnett. We are taking further steps to establish additional academic programming and student supports as well as Indigenous faculty recruitment.

Recently, our students, faculty, staff and community members demonstrated outstanding leadership by conducting a REDress event in recognition of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls across Canada. We have formally recognized REDress events on campus each year since 2018.

Brock stands by all of those who have shown courage in sponsoring and supporting the REDress events on campus. Brock also stands by its Indigenous faculty, staff and students whose voices were heard when the University established the President’s Advisory Committee on Human Rights, Equity and Decolonization (PACHRED) and when Senate established the Two Row Council. The Council is motivated by the Two Row Wampum Agreement of 1613 between the Haudenosaunee Confederation and Europeans. It was founded on principles and imagery of each community and peoples respecting and progressing side-by-side independently while each maintaining their own laws, customs and ways. Today, Canada is built on this foundation and its message, along with those of the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Agreement, are informative to our shared obligations and responsibilities as members of the Brock community.

Today, I stand by Brock’s Land Acknowledgement, which is posted on the Brock University website. It reminds all of us of the Brock Senate and Board approval and endorsement of continued steps in support of the values and principles of an inclusive education community. And it reminds us of our personal responsibilities and commitments in support of these principles.

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