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Melancthon Township Adopts Land Acknowledgement

Melancthon Township Adopts Land Acknowledgement

Melancthon Township has adopted a land acknowledgement.

In August, Melancthon’s Deputy Mayor Dave Besley brought forward a motion, seconded and assisted by Councillor James McLean, that the township amends and adopt the Land Acknowledgement Statement presently used by Dufferin County. Upon the suggestion of Mayor Darren White, Warden of Dufferin County, council revised the motion include that staff engage with the Dufferin County Museum to obtain the final wording. 

“That’s where the Dufferin County one came from, they were very diligent and it took them a long time to get from blank page to what we have,” said Mayor White. “What I would also ask is that county staff go over and look at the boundaries of Melancthon and amend as necessary.”

On September 16, 2021, Melancthon council resolved to implement the land acknowledgement statement presented by staff. The land acknowledgement for Melancthon Township is written as follows:

We would like to begin by acknowledging that Melancthon Township recognizes the ancestral lands and treaty territories of the Tionontati (Petun/Wyandot(te)), Haudenosaunee (Six Nations), and Anishinaabe Peoples. The Township of Melancthon resides within the lands named under the Haldimand Deed of 1784 and the Lake Simcoe-Nottawasaga Treaty (Treaty 18).

These territories upon which we live and learn, are steeped in rich Indigenous history and traditions. It is with this statement that we declare to honour and respect the past and present connection of Indigenous peoples with this land, its waterways and resources.

The land acknowledgement will be read at the beginning of Melancthon Township’s council and committee meetings going forward. The passed motion states how land acknowledgements are a first step and a means of bringing awareness to the pain, impact, and legacies of colonialism and subjugation of Indigenous peoples.

Now that Melancthon has instituted its land acknowledgement, only three Dufferin County municipalities do not have one read at the beginning of their council meetings; Grand Valley, East Garafraxa, and Amaranth. At its last council meeting on September 14, 2021, Grand Valley Councillor Steve Miles provided a notice of motion that would direct staff to develop a land acknowledgement, which will be discussed and voted upon at the next meeting. Moreover, Shelburne council directed staff to re-examine its land acknowledgement statement after discovering that Museum of Dufferin records show that parts of the municipality lie upon Haldimand Tract. If true, Shelburne’s land acknowledgment statement would be excluding the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations). Earlier this year, the Haudenosaunee declared a moratorium on all development along the Haldimand Tract, which is comprised of 10 km of land on both sides of the Grand River.

Melancthon staff has been directed to formulate a diversity policy for the municipality that is expected to be presented to and voted upon by council in the upcoming months. 

September 17,2021 6:05 pm: Updated to include that on September 14, 2021, Grand Valley Councillor Steve Miles provided a notice of motion that would direct staff to formulate a land acknowledgement statement that would be read at future council meetings.

References – Melancthon Township Adopts Land Acknowledgement

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