The Smith School of Business and Queen’s University are situated on the unceded traditional lands of the Anishinaabe, and following a forced relocation, the Haudenosaunee peoples. In 1783, this land was colonized through the deed known as the “Crawford Purchase”. In return for this large, broad, and vague claim to territory, the Crown made a disproportionate payment in the form of blankets, clothing, guns, and ammunition.
As Incoming Commerce students, we ask you to reflect on how the success of Canada’s economy today is directly dependent on the historical oppression and violent colonization of Indigenous peoples. Canada’s abundant natural resources have traditionally been stewarded and protected by Indigenous Nations since time immemorial. These Indigenous peoples protected the harvesting of the land and water with a treaty belt called One Dish One Spoon. Through the many attempts to challenge Indigenous peoples’ sovereignty over their lands and forcibly dismantle their cultures, we recognize the actions of the Canadian government as cultural genocide – and its effects are ongoing.
Not simply acknowledging this traditional territory, but doing one’s part to understand and respect this land gives recognition to its history predating the establishment of the earliest European contact. It gives recognition to the pain Indigenous communities have endured and continue to endure today. It gives recognition to this territory’s significance for the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples who have lived and continue to live upon it; people whose practices and spiritualities are tied to the land and continue to develop in relationship to the territory and its other current inhabitants.
To this day, Kingston continues to be the home of the Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee peoples, as well as for a significant Métis community and First Peoples from other Nations across Turtle Island – creating a centre filled with Indigenous cultural identity, knowledge, language, and tradition. These Indigenous communities and their claim on the land that we gratefully live, learn, and play on today remain a present part of the Smith School of Business and Queen’s University.
The Commerce Executive on Orientation is grateful that we are able to welcome Incoming Students year after year on these traditional lands, that we continue to reside on and use without permission. We recognize that this traditional territory makes Smith Commerce Orientation Week possible, ultimately facilitating a successful university experience and prosperous career for all Incoming Students. Lasting memories, lifelong friendships, education, and personal growth are among the many things these lands have and continue to give to us. We are grateful for the countless opportunities and resources that educational institutions such as Queen’s University provide students to continuously learn about the value that the land we occupy holds for the communities they rightfully belong to.
The Commerce Executive on Orientation encourages students to view reconciliation as an ongoing process that is continuously in need of support. While this process takes place at the micro-level among individuals, we also recognize that macro-level changes to law and policy among various levels of government are necessary in order to eliminate the current unequal experiences and living conditions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous inhabitants. As residents on this land, we are obliged to learn about the specific territories we occupy, the Indigenous communities they belong to, and advocate for systemic change from the Canadian government, in order to work towards a relationship that fosters reconciliation between all nations. The Commerce Executive on Orientation is committed to increasing the visibility of Indigenous communities to ensure all Incoming Indigenous students are supported in an educated, equitable, and inclusive environment.