City Councillor forced to explain why they “don’t really mean” Land Acknowledgment to Grade 5 students

From: George Waye, community contributor

NORTH BAY — Students in Mrs. Malloy’s Grade 5 class were invited last week to watch a North Bay City Council meeting over Zoom.

After the Council Meeting was over, students asked their questions to City Councillor Vic Tikus. During the question-and-answer period, an increasingly exasperated Tikus was forced to explain that land acknowledgments were just “a thing we do that shouldn’t be taken literally.”

Devin Coochie, a Grade 5 student at the school, seemed perplexed by the land acknowledgment at the beginning of the council meeting; and several other students also chimed in.

“I didn’t really understand how a bunch of people could acknowledge that they took something and then spend the next hour deciding what to do with what they took,” puzzled young Devin.

“I thought it seemed obvious they should just give it back.”

It Tikus 2 Hours

Councillor Tikus then spent the next two hours explaining that land acknowledgments are “just a thing that we do before City Council meetings,” and “not something that actually has any meaning or consequences.”

“I was really surprised that these kids know what the word ‘unceded’ means” said Tikus when asked for a comment. “I’m pretty sure most adults don’t even understand it.”

“I’m thinking that maybe next year we will invite classes in Grade 3.”

Tikus was also surprised to learn that the only word Mrs. Malloy’s class didn’t seem to understand or recognize was “Anishnaabe”.

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