A new “learn” section on an Island First Nations website aims to give people more information about Indigenous territories that make up part of Greater Victoria and better support the journey to reconciliation.
The WSANEC Leadership Council page provides settler residents with access to a map of Indigenous territories where they live and work, how to do land and territorial acknowledgments, how to pronounce the name of First Nations and the languages they speak. It also offers a reading list where people can educate themselves further on Indigenous issues.
The webpage explains the significance of acknowledging the original occupants of the land and walks people through preparing their own acknowledgment.
“They are primarily intended for settlers to become more aware of the unceded lands they occupy and the local Indigenous Nations that have been living on the lands since time immemorial,” reads a description on the page.
Through relaying the importance of acknowledgements, the resource aims to teach participants how Indigenous ways of life were disrupted by colonialism and how people were systematically removed from their traditional territories. Ignorance of that history can contribute to ongoing racism, the website says.
Another section gives visitors background on how children were punished in residential schools for practising their culture, which contributed to the erasure of Indigenous languages. It offers links to videos that show how to properly pronounce WSANEC and SENCOTEN (the language of WSANEC people).
The page includes links to educational videos and readings on Indigenous and WSANEC histories. There are also links where people can donate to local organizations and projects in the WSANEC territory, such as the Tsawout Big House and the Tseycum Childcare and Wellness Centre.
The settlers learn page can be found at wsanec.com/learn-settlers.
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