Going beyond the land acknowledgement
As recognized in George Brown’s official land acknowledgement, the college is located on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. Land acknowledgements are an important reminder that we are all treaty people. So, what are treaties, which treaty land is George Brown located on, and what does it mean to be treaty people?
What are treaties?
Treaties were created between Indigenous populations and settlers to develop trade and military alliances. What were originally intended to be mutually beneficial agreements eroded over time due to several factors, namely colonialism.
According to the Government of Canada today, "Treaties provide a framework for living together and sharing the land Indigenous peoples traditionally occupied. These agreements provide foundations for ongoing co-operation and partnership as we move forward together to advance reconciliation."1
Which treaty land is George Brown located on?
The city of Toronto (and George Brown College) is located within the Toronto Purchase Treaty lands (Treaty 13).
The Toronto Purchase occurred after a disputed agreement was made in 1787 that saw the sale of lands in the now Toronto area from the Mississaugas of the Credit to the British crown. The agreement was revisited in 1805 but remained disputed for more than 200 years. In 1998, the Mississaugas of the Credit aimed to resolve this dispute by filing a claim with the Government of Canada. The claim stated that the British crown had unlawfully acquired more land than the original treaty intended. In 2010, the government settled the claim for compensation of $145 million.
Above is a very brief summary. We encourage the George Brown community to visit the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (MCFN) website for more information. You will find detailed histories and maps of all of Ontario's treaties here.
What does it mean to be "treaty people"?
Indigenous populations and settlers are treaty people, and we all have treaty rights and responsibilities. However, settlers have significantly benefitted from treaties over time. Given this, it’s crucial to amplify and listen to Indigenous voices and to call out the continued marginalization of Indigenous people. Settlers have a shared responsibility to work toward reconciliation.
What is Treaty Education Week?
Treaty Education Week is an annual acknowledgement of Treaty Education in Ontario that began in 2016. This time allows individuals to engage in education about what treaties are, along with the rights and responsibilities that encompass that. This is also a time to reflect on the past work completed and discuss steps towards a better future for all.
Treaty Education Week at George Brown College
Indigenous Initiatives at George Brown College has provided a week of virtual and in-person events for the GBC Community to recognize Treaty Education Week. Along with this week of programming, resources will be provided on the Indigenous Initiatives webpage for those wishing to engage in education on their own accord. Tkaronto, now called Toronto, is situated on Treaty #13 and the Williams Treaties. To recognize the treaty relationships and traditional territory that inhabits Toronto, George Brown College presents an Indigenous land acknowledgment at the beginning of any event. An Indigenous land acknowledgement is a statement made that recognizes the traditional territory. George Brown College is located on the traditional territory of the Mississauga's of the Credit First Nation and other Indigenous peoples who have lived here over time. We are grateful to share this land as treaty people who learn, work and live in the community with each other.
1 Treaties and Agreements, Government of Canada.
To learn more about treaties and Treaties Recognition Week, we recommend checking out the following resources: