Park People’s first steps in the journey of decolonizing park work: Writing a park-based land acknowledgement
September 23, 2019
As a national city parks organization, we recognize that when we speak of municipal parks and public land, we are obscuring the fact that, in most cases, the land that we are speaking of is traditional Indigenous territory. Our work building community and engaging neighbourhoods are woefully incomplete without recognizing the injustice that dispossessed the First Nations of the land we now refer to as “public land.”
How can we begin to actively address generations of systemic oppression imposed by colonization and settlement? The Vancouver Park Board hired their first-ever reconciliation planner and is in the process of conducting a colonial audit of their board. The City of Quesnel, BC recently restored ownership of Tingley Park to the Lhtako Dene First Nation. There are many inspiring park projects across the country focused on rebuilding trust, sharing knowledge and developing true partnerships between First Nations and settlers. Many are covered in our Canadian City Parks Report.
Since writing and sharing Park People’s land acknowledgement at our recent Heart of the City conference, we have been asked about how we developed the acknowledgement. As part of our own journey, we want to share some insights we generated in developing our land acknowledgement.