Tuesday September 24, 2019
At the Humber Arboretum Strategic Plan Launch Celebration and Ceremonial Tree Planting on Monday September 23rd, Lynn Short gave the following land acknowledgement:
"Miigwetch, Alix, for the kind words.
Boozhoo Everyone, it is an honour to deliver the Land Acknowledgement today. Every day is a gift, even when it is raining. Water is life. I regard rain as ‘liquid sunshine’.
I have always felt connected to the land. It seems that I am most comfortable when I am outdoors, no matter what the weather or season. I have a real sense of joy when I observe the plants and animals in my surroundings. In fact, the colours of the ribbons on my skirt represent that connection; brown for Ahki (the land), blue for Nibi (the water), yellow for Geezis (the sun), green for the plants, red for the people and animals and silver for the spirits of those who have walked before us on this land.
Last Wednesday, while working in the Arboretum, a young man came up to speak with me. He recognized me because I had taught him in Grade 7 at Humberwood Downs many years ago. He became a Pharmacist and he regularly jogs on the trails in the Arboretum. He told me that he wanted to thank me for changing his perspective on the importance of being outdoors. He said that, as a result of my teachings about the plants and animals, he had developed a connection with nature that has lasted throughout his life. This reminded me of something I have known for a long time…land has the potential to change people’s perspectives and their lives. It nurtures all.
This beautiful place, the Humber Arboretum, is located within the traditional and treaty lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit. To Michi Saagiig people it is known as Adoobiigok, which means “The Place of the Black Alders”. This is where the name, Etobicoke, comes from, the area of western Toronto where I live and work. The region is situated along Gaabekanang Ziibii, the Humber River Watershed. Historically, the Humber River Watershed provided the connection between Lake Ontario and the Lake Simcoe/Georgian Bay regions for the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples. Adoobiigok is currently home to people of many nations, 755 species of plants, 42 species of fish, and 185 species of animals.
This territory is also subject to the Treaty of the Dish with One Spoon, a covenant agreement originally between the Anishinaabeg and the Haudenosaunee and their allied nations to peaceably share the land and all its resources. The ‘dish’ represented the land and the ‘spoon’ represented the resources of the land that were to be shared. It was, therefore, also effectively a covenant with the land, water, plants and animals to be treated in a respectful way. The intent was for the land to be shared sustainably over time by the people, the plants and the animals.
All life exists within interconnected and interdependent relationships with the land. Honouring those connections allows all of earth’s creations to live in a good way. Our relationship with Ahki (the earth) is reciprocal. We can use the resources of the land but we must be mindful of the need to take care of the land at the same time.
We all receive the benefits of connecting with this land. We are all interconnected members of a universal family. The Humber Arboretum is a place where we can learn from our experiences with Neekaanagana, ‘all our relations’. At the same time, we have the responsibility of giving back through responsible stewardship of the land so that future generations will continue to receive the benefits of this important relationship to the land.
~ Lynn Short, Humber Arboretum Environmental Stewardship Coordinator, September 23 2019
Read about the Humber Arboretum and Centre for Urban Ecology’s 2019-2024 Strategic Plan: