During Monday evening’s Committee of the Whole meeting in Smiths Falls, Deputy Clerk Nadine Bennett presented a recommendation to town council on behalf of the Racism and Discrimination Task Force that council should read a land acknowledgement at every council meeting, committee meeting, and board meeting in Smiths Falls. This land acknowledgement was written by Mr. Chuck Commanda; it honours the history of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation in this area, and recognizes that the town is built upon their ancestral and unceded territory.
Council was unanimous in its support of this recommendation.
“I have long supported having this acknowledgement, and I will be supporting it tonight in memory of Teddy Bellingham,” declared Councillor Alford.
Councillor McKenna stated that he appreciated that the land acknowledgement is not a cookie cutter template, but is unique to Smiths Falls.
“I would add that, on a year when we can’t have the powwow, this is great that it is coming forward. … I really agree with this,” said Councillor Allen.
Mayor Pankow expressed his gratitude to Mr. Commanda, “who also serves as a Knowledge Keeper for the UCDSB. I’m very pleased that it is designed for our community and speaks to our relationship to the Indigenous people who came before us.”
Councillor Dwyer, who chaired the meeting, thanked Deputy Clerk Bennett for bringing this recommendation from the Racism and Discrimination Task Force. “Please give them our encouragement to continue coming forward with such localized, supportive tools,” she added.
Mr. Commanda is a canoe builder, storyteller, and has been invited to read the full inaugural acknowledgement during next week’s council meeting, September 27. Subsequent meetings will begin with the reading of an abridged version of the land acknowledgement in the future.