Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
I’m Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg, or Ojibway, from Alderville First Nation. My territory is the north shore of Lake Ontario in Ontario, and I began today with one of our political practices that we carry when we’re visiting another’s territory. We start by telling our clan where we live, where we are from, our home, and then finally our name. The next words out of our mouths are an acknowledgement of the territory of the people we are visiting and they have deep meaning. They are a commitment to the Dene that I will not cause harm while I am here, that I will conduct myself in a way that is consistent with your laws and practices, that I will not ruin your lands or your waters or hurt your families, and that I am committed to maintaining reciprocal, peaceful relations with your community and your nation. For me these words are about an affirmation of your governance and your nationhood, and a commitment and a responsibility to reciprocity and peace.