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CMTBC approves new Board Policy on Land Acknowledgements

The CMTBC Board approved a new Board Policy on Land Acknowledgements (PDF) at its December 13, 2023, meeting. Developed in consultation with an Indigenous consultant from Len Pierre Consulting, the new policy sets an expectation for the CMTBC Board and committees to include a land acknowledgement at every meeting. The policy also provides guidance for giving a land acknowledgement as well as how to develop from a basic acknowledgement to a transformative one.

On the second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in September 2022, the CMTBC Board made a commitment to action in response to the In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism in B.C. Health Care report. The commitment acknowledged the harmful impact of colonialism on Indigenous Peoples and recognized that the correction of the resulting intergenerational trauma and abuse requires individuals and organizations to understand their roles in making changes to promote Indigenous cultural safety.

In its commitment, CMTBC noted that the College had already taken steps to sustain a climate for change by recognizing unceded territory in formal regulatory proceedings such as inquiry and discipline hearings and providing training to Board members and staff. Following this commitment, land acknowledgements were routinely included as an agenda item for Board meetings. Land acknowledgements have also been adopted by many CMTBC committees. While the inclusion of land acknowledgements in formal meetings has been a wide-spread practice at the College, it has not always been consistent. The approval of the new policy ensures consistent inclusion of land acknowledgements at all Board and committee meetings.

The Board noted that similar policies used by other organizations generally use one of two terms: “land acknowledgement” and “territory acknowledgement”. The Board recognized that while the term “territory acknowledgement” connotes a stronger association with rights and title than “land acknowledgment”, the term “land acknowledgement” is more widely recognized and, therefore, more accessible. The Board decided to use the term “land acknowledgement” in the current policy, with a view to possibly transitioning to the term “territory acknowledgement” in future versions of the policy as that term gains wider recognition.

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