Land Acknowledgement

ypt building
Young People’s Theatre | Photo by Ali Sultani.

Young People’s Theatre believes in acknowledging the land we stand on, the generations of people who have come before, are here today, and will continue protecting this land. Before the beginning of every performance or event at YPT, a staff member is entrusted to present a personalized land acknowledgment to the audience/group. This acknowledgement is designed to:

  • touch on the agreements and treaties of the land
  • speak of the Nations of Peoples that have and continue to call this land home
  • express why they feel connected to the land through a personal anecdote or reflection

YPT staff recently took part in a land acknowledgment workshop with YPT Community Engagement Facilitator Lindy Kinoshameg and Artist Educator Leslie McCue. The group explored each participant’s relationship to the land, its untold history, and what it means to call this place home.

Each person places a different yet personal meaning into their individual land acknowledgement. The purpose is to show these are not just words being read from a paper, but that the person presenting them knows what Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee mean, where the Dish with One Spoon agreement comes from, and why it is important to express this understanding.

Here is a land acknowledgment from Isabelle Siciliano, YPT Education & Participation Intern:

Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to Young People’s Theatre for today’s performance.

I would like to begin by saying YPT is situated on lands and waterways that have known human activity for more than 15,000 years. I never feel more strongly connected to my grandfather than when I find myself near a tomato vine. I feel a great sense of comfort and nurture from the land, as my grandfather loved to grow tomatoes and never missed a day where he would tend to his garden. It is an instant connection through which I feel closer to him and am reminded of his love. For that, to the land, I am eternally grateful.

We acknowledge the ancestral lands of the Dish with One Spoon Territory, and more recently Treaty 13. This includes the Mississaugas of the Credit who are part of the Anishinaabe Nation, the Wyandot Nation, also the Haudenosaunee Confederacy of Six Nations, and any other Nation, recorded or unrecorded.

Miigwech, Nya-weh, Thank you for letting us gather here today.

To learn more about the INDIGENizeUS program at YPT, click here.