Toronto

Pride Toronto apologizes for land acknowledgement that 'failed to recognize' Indigenous people

Pride Toronto is apologizing for a land acknowledgement sign displayed over the weekend after hundreds took to Twitter to call out the organization for erasing Indigenous people and failing to properly recognize the origins of the territory on which the festivities took place.

'No matter what part of Mother Earth our family originates from, we all have a ... responsibility to the land'

Images of the sign surfaced on social media Sunday, with many pointing out it did not refer to any Indigenous communities or the treaties that Toronto falls under. (@kiwinerd/Twitter)

Pride Toronto is apologizing for a land acknowledgement sign displayed over the weekend after hundreds took to Twitter to call out the organization for erasing Indigenous people, and failing to properly recognize the origins of the territory on which the festivities took place.

The organization issued a statement on its Facebook page Monday, a day after images of the sign surfaced on social media.

Many pointed out the sign did not refer to any Indigenous communities or treaties that Toronto falls under.

Toronto is located on the traditional territory of several nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. It is covered by Treaty 13 with the Mississaugas of the Credit.

"Take a moment to connect with the land that you are currently standing on," the acknowledgement says.

"Now introduce yourself spiritually; build a relationship with Mother Earth that provides for all our relations. No matter what part of Mother Earth our family originates from, we all have a relationship and a responsibility to the land. Let's build a healthy relationship together," the statement continues. 

Land acknowledgements stem from an Indigenous tradition that dates back centuries. On its website, the City of Toronto explains "a territorial or land acknowledgement involves making a statement recognizing the traditional territory of the Indigenous people(s) who called the land home before the arrival of settlers, and in many cases still do call it home."

It's a gesture many say marks a small but important step on the path to reconciliation.

"By making a land acknowledgement you are taking part in an act of reconciliation, honouring the land and Indigenous presence which dates back over 10,000 years," the city's website says. 

In response to the flurry of tweets, Pride Toronto responded on Twitter, writing: "This acknowledgement was [written] by an indigenous person. Thanks for reaching out to Pride Toronto."

That statement prompted even further criticism, which a tweet from the organization later acknowledged was "naive."

In its statement Monday afternoon, the organization said, "Pride Toronto would like to take full responsibility of this and apologize to our 2SLGBTQQIA+ Indigenous communities, and to acknowledge that there is more work to be done in our efforts to be intersectional, radically anti-racist, and anti-oppressive."

"We recognize the impact extends directly to the erasure of identities, communities and the histories of 2SLGBTQQIA+ Indigenous communities."