Unreserved

Toronto theatre uses land acknowledgement as a conversation starter, act of reconciliation

Land acknowledgement is an act of reconciliation that involves a public speaker stating what territory or traditional lands they are currently occupying. At the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, ahead of every documentary screening or live event, a formal territorial acknowledgement is either read out or projected onto the screen.

Land acknowledgement is an act of reconciliation that involves a public speaker stating what territory or traditional lands they are currently occupying. 

At the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, ahead of every documentary screening or live event, a formal territorial acknowledgement is either read out or projected onto the screen.

"We just thought that this was an important and long overdue gesture to honour the stewardship of Indigenous people whose land we now have the privilege of meeting and working and living on," said Will DiNovi, special programs curator at the theatre.

He said response to the land acknowledgment has been overwhelmingly positive, both from audiences at the theatre and on social media.

"A lot of non-Indigenous folks grew up in Canada without getting good Indigenous history growing up in school," he said. "In the last few years as the national conversation around reconciliaton has grown, I've become really conscious of how poorly educated I have been on Indigenous history."

DiNovi said he sees these recognitions as a way to start a conversation that will hopefully lead to a process of self-education. 

"We have a platform [at Hot Docs] where we can engage people on important social issues and ideas," he explained. "And right now, I don't think there's a more important issue than this issue of reconciliation."