This summer my family will once again be relocating, in fact it’s something I’ve done my entire life. When I was little we moved often and I never felt I belonged anywhere, in fact I’ve often referred to myself as ”Terri of nothing from nowhere”. This isn’t meant to be a sad thing, it is just from a young age I was aware this isn’t my land. In fact it was moving so often that made me question things so much. For example in my youth we were taught in school most of Canada was unoccupied territory, yet as we moved to different provinces there was always different First Nations/Indigenous groups represented. It made me wonder how is it possible that everything was unoccupied, yet everywhere we move seemed to belong originally to First Nations and Indigenous people. It was these little seeds that started my many questions and interest in researching the truth.
As a parent now, who still moves, it became very important for me to make sure I do a better job of answering and educating my children than my parents did. One of the ways I try to educate my girls is by thanking the people whose land we are living on prior to moving. We do this by asking Indigenous People (who we’ve connected with and built friendships) where we could make a donation to acknowledge and thank them for being on their land. I actively have my daughters participate in this so we are all aware of whose land this actually is, and how generous they are to let us be here. This has now become natural for my daughters, the first thing my 10 y.o. said when told we were moving was “Whose land will we be living on, and are we going to leave a thank you to Treaty 6”? This gives me hope, hope that eventually the youth will be able to come together, to give my daughters the voice to speak out against injustices that are continually happening to our First Nations and Indigenous communities. I had always hoped it would happen in my lifetime but if it can’t, I want to do all I can to make sure my daughters have the knowledge and tools to help it happen in their lifetime or the generations after.
Does anyone else move a lot and found a similar effect? Or do you have practices to thank the community whose land you are on? I’d love to hear about them, and share your ways with my daughters. This blog has become something of a family affair with my two older daughters and I know they would be happy to hear of other ways settlers give back because there are so many ways besides money.