George Brown College Under Fire for Requiring a “Land Acknowledgment Statement” for Access to Zoom Event

We have been discussing controversies over “land acknowledgement” statements at universities, including recently at the University of Washington. A new such controversy has arisen at George Brown College in Toronto where, in order to join a Zoom call, both faculty and students were required to agree to a statement that included an acknowledgement that they benefited from colonization.

Social media and conservative sites lit up after the meeting in which participants were required to check a box stating “I agree” to the following statement:

“It has been the site of human activity since time immemorial. This land is the territory of the Huron-Wendat, Mississaugas, Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee.

The territory is the subject of the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Confederacy of the Anishinabek and Allied Nations to peaceably care for and share the resources around the Great Lakes.

We also acknowledge all Treaty peoples – including those who came here as settlers – as migrants either in this generation or in generations past – and those of us who came here involuntarily, particularly forcibly displanted Africans, brough here as a result of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery.

As settlers or the displanted, we benefit from the colonization and genocide of the Indigenous peoples of this land. In order to engage in resistance and solidarity against the past and present injustices inflicted on the Indigenous peoples of this land, it is imperative we constantly engage in acts of awareness and decolonization.

**By selecting ‘I agree,’ you are indicating your acknowledgment of this statement. Our intent is not to impose agreeance, but to inform through acknowledgment. This acknowledgment is to generate awareness and offer opportunities for personal reflection.**”

George Brown recently announced a new and extensive “Anti-Racism Action Plan.

The school states that at each and every event at the school there must be a land acknowledgement statement:

The Indigenous land acknowledgment is a statement made at the beginning of George Brown College events to recognize the traditional territory upon which we are situated. The current wording for our territorial acknowledgment is:

George Brown College is located on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and other Indigenous peoples who have lived here over time. We are grateful to share this land as treaty people who learn, work and live in the community with each other.  

The first speaker at an event delivers the land acknowledgment, before longer welcoming or introductory remarks. Most Indigenous groups prefer the land acknowledgment precede the singing of or the playing of O Canada to recognize the historical order.

That would appear to make it mandatory for any groups to recite these words in order to hold an event on campus even if they or some participants oppose either the substance of the statement or the element of compelled speech.

The University of Colorado (Denver) recently encouraged students and faculty to “read the following together with your students from your syllabus”:

“Acknowledging that we reside in the homelands of Indigenous Peoples is an important step in recognizing the history and the original stewards of these lands. Land acknowledgements must extend far beyond words. The United States has worked hard to erase the narratives of Indigenous Peoples over time. Land acknowledgement statements can help to remind us of the history, the contributions and the sacrifices Native peoples have made.

“We honor and acknowledge that we are on the traditional territories and ancestral homelands of the Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Ute nations. This area, specifically the confluence of the Platte and Cherry Creek Rivers was the epicenter for trade, information sharing, planning for the future, community, family and ally building, as well as conducting healing ceremonies for over 45 Indigenous Nations, including the Lakota, Kiowa, Comanche, Apache, Shoshone, Paiute, Zuni, Hopi among others.

“We must recognize Indigenous peoples as the original inhabitants, stewards and relatives of this land. As these words of acknowledgment are spoken and heard, remember the ties these nations still have to their traditional homelands. Let us acknowledge the painful history of genocide and forced removal from this territory and pay our respect to the diverse Indigenous peoples still connected to this land. Let us also give thanks to all Tribal Nations and the ancestors of this place.”

These acknowledgements are usually voluntary, though we saw at the University of Washington that the decision to supply your own such statement can result in a negative response from the Administration.

It is not clear how an untenured faculty member would fare if the professor declined such invitations or suggestions. It is certainly precarious for an untenured person to openly disagree with such policies. Even if you prevail, you may find yourself unemployed when your contract is not renewed. We recently discussed that concern where a St. John’s professor prevailed in a fight over his questioning reparations, but was later denied the renewal of his contract. The termination sent a chilling message to all faculty members.

We previously discussed how an acting Northwestern Law Dean declared publicly “I am James Speta and I am a racist.” He was followed by Emily Mullin, executive director of major gifts, who announced, “I am a racist and a gatekeeper of white supremacy. I will work to be better.”  I have no problem with a dean making such statements based on his own convictions and would defend his right to do so under free speech and academic freedom principles. However, there is also a concern that such decanal statements create pressure on others (particularly untenured members) to begin remarks with such confessional statements.

There are various reasons why faculty or students may disagree with the statement supplied by George Brown College, including a resistance to pressure to conform to public expressions or recitations. The question is whether the college’s push to “demystify” and “decolonize” the campus will tolerate such dissent or bar access to programs or opportunities for dissenters.

512 thoughts on “George Brown College Under Fire for Requiring a “Land Acknowledgment Statement” for Access to Zoom Event”

  1. Talk is cheap. If George Brown College is distressed about occupying indigenous people’s land, then by all means those administrators (or whoever is driving this forced speech) should disband the college and return the land to native tribes. Don’t just talk; take action or shut up.

  2. The Left:

    Academia is overwhelmingly Democrat. Hence, the most learned professions are Democrat.

    Also the Left:

    Comply with our ideology or you won’t work in academia.

  3. Did Native Americans have the strictest land deed laws ever created? Did the first person to camp and build a fire on a spot of land own that land, in perpetuity, for all future generations, forever?

    Strangely, no. Native tribes routinely warred with each other, and changed territories. If the herds moved on, so did they.

    Tribes lived in inhospitable deserts with sharply curtailed life expectancies because stronger tribes drove them out. The sacred Black Hills, alone, changed hands more than 5 times in 200 years.

    What “Land Acknowledgement” should be required? Who owns that spot of land? The last Native tribe, the tribe they took it from, or the one before that?

    The Noble Savage trope is so tiresome. Ancient tribes engaged in slavery, rape, theft, genocide, and some were cannibals. Many tortured prisoners of war. Some tribes had a fearsome reputation for spending days slowly killing captives. Stealing horses, brought here by Europeans, was part of their commerce. As well as kidnapping women. There are historical accounts of certain tribes raiding settlements, killing the men, raping the women, bashing babies’ heads in, and then keeping the women as sex slaves for years. Now, you might say that white men committed atrocities on Native Americans, in return, and you’d be right. Yet there is no popular Noble Early White Man trope that pretends it didn’t happen.

    Ancient tribes had rich histories, cultures, and it is anthropologically fascinating to study their past. However, it was THE PAST. Human societies of the past were brutal. You wouldn’t want to live there. The idea of fair and just is alien to modern Western sensibility. Just like you wouldn’t want to live in ancient Britain, where they hanged poor children who stole food.

    Western Europeans were the stronger tribe who came in. Instead of deliberately wiping out native tribes, as some tribes did to each other, they eventually incorporated Native Americans. It was a mistake to set up separate Reservations, which still treat them like children. It prevented them from building wealth and succeeding. Those who live on the Reservation are still dependent upon charity, and still live with poor health. Better to become Romans after falling to Rome than a separate and dependent people.

    Where are the Pict, Celt, Saxon, and Vandal separate reservations in Europe?

    Do Native Americans want to eschew all European advances, give up modern medicine, the wheel, equal rights, the end of slavery, all technology, motorized vehicles, hospitals, rifles, and the horse? You can’t have it both ways, hate the formation of the US, but still want the good things Europeans brought.

  4. Native savages “were the original ‘Communists’ . . .”

    It’s always nice when your ideological enemies admit their spiritual kinship. They both rejected the Enlightenment. They both want man ignorant, impoverished, obedient. They both want the individual chained to the collective — with them, of course, as the “voice” of the tribe. The only difference between the two is the degree of their destruction.

  5. The Russians escalated the war when they started it.
    Taking measures to stop the war is not an escalation.
    That’s like saying the Americans escalated World War 2 when they
    started pouring men and equipment into the Pacific theater. No, they didn’t.
    They de-escalated the war by doing so, as history has shown, eventually putting an end to it. If our gifts of weapons can destroy Russian weapons, then it is more like pouring water on a fire, not more fuel.

  6. The Governor Lilburn Boggs of the State of Missouri issued his notorious Executive Order 44, which was literally an EXTERMINATION ORDER, decreeing that MORMONS (IE members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) where to either be exterminated or removed from the state. Their lands were taken without compensation. This order was finally rescinded in (I believe) 1976. Are colleges and other organizations in Missouri required to acknowledge this theft of land?

  7. Jonathan: I was wrong. There are still some people in this very chatroom who think the rape of Native lands was a good thing–the inevitable march of “civilization”. “Sam” says Native peoples were “offered a great gift–the value of Western civilization…And, with few exceptions, those ‘peoples’ spit in the face of that gift, and shall be known for what they are, ‘barbarians'”. “George”, who spent a lot of time on the history of “deeds”, says Native peoples “own no land, but that which was given by treaty, gift and that which is recorded”. So poor Chief Joseph, the famous leader of the Wallowa band of the Nez Perce, was just out of luck because he had no recorded deed to his homeland. But Joseph did have a signed treaty with the US government protecting a portion of tribe’s lands. And what happened? Settlers and miners forcibly took the land away–aided by US troops. The Nez Perce fought hard. But they were outgunned and Joseph finally decided to lead a small group of his band (mostly women and children) to the Canadian border where Joseph was forced into surrender. In 1900 Joseph went back to Wallowa and pleaded with the valley’s settlers to allow him to reclaim part of the land near his father’s burial place. In one historical account Joseph was “met with jeers,. They considered Joseph delusional and expressed no willingness to sell him, much less give him, any land at all”. Of course, the settler’s believed they had fought hard to take the land, with the aid of US troops, and they were not about to give it up to an old “Indian”. Besides, by this time the settler’s had recorded “deeds” with the new county recorder’s office. Everything was “legal” and proper. If only Chief Joseph had a “recorded deed” to his lands things might have been very different.

    Of course, Native tribes here and in Canada had no “legal title” to the lands they occupied. They had no concept of “individual” ownership. They believed they were the “custodians” of the land they occupied (“Mother Earth”) and it was their duty to preserve the land for future generations. They were the original “Communists” and probably why “Sam” and “George” have such disdain for those “barbarians”. If Native people’s had no “rights” then why did the US government sign so many treaties (that it broke) recognizing those rights? That all changed as the “Westward expansion” ramped up. Greedy land speculators and mining interests wanted the land and they got Christian missionaries, Washington politicians and the US military to back them. They believed conquest was a legitimate way to acquire territory. It was all part of the great plan–to spread the “benefits: of “Western civilization”. So all those treaties were abrogated so the land could be plundered and the inhabitants put in concentration camps–excuse me, “reservations”. That is the sad legacy that George Brown College and the University of Colorado are trying to set straight. But some apparently still cling to the racist notion that brutal colonial expansion was actually a good thing. That is the delusional thinking going on in this chatroom empowered by your column.

    1. Lets go back and re-adjudicate every past conflict all the way to Caine and Able.

      So called “native americans” arrived here about 9000 years ago – they displaced, or exterminated peoples who arrived 20,000 years ago, who displaced or exterminated those who arrived 30,000 years ago.

      The same native peoples that you are celebrating – not only massacred those who preceded them, but spent a great deal fo time killing each other.

      Leftists like to look at tiny bits of past history ignoring the whole.

      Slavery has existed throughout human history everywhere and at every time.
      its dramatic reduction in modern times starting and driven by the rest is an anomally.

      Nearly all african slaves brought to the west were enslaved by other africans.

      The distinction between so called “indiginous peoples” and europeans is simply that the Europeans were more advanced and capable of displacing these peoples.

      1. John Say has it wrong, as usual. The so-called Native Americans, better called the Beringians, first arrived around 20,000 years ago in the USA and then further south. As best as can be determined there were no descendants then of the first explorers who arrived about 10,000 years earlier. Archaeologists continue to look, however.

        Some of the tribes were certainly warriors, also keeping slaves of the survivors of the defeated. Others were peaceful.

        1. Your right I was wrong – aparently recent discoveries estimate the earliest americans at 90,000 years ago.

          These were NOT the ancestors of “native americans”

          “Indigenous peoples of the Americas have been linked to North Asian populations by linguistic dialects, the distribution of blood types, and in genetic composition as reflected by molecular data, such as DNA. 8,000–7,000 BCE (10,000–9,000 years ago) the climate stabilized, leading to a rise in population and lithic technology advances, resulting in a more sedentary lifestyle.”

          “History of North America encompasses the past developments of people populating the continent of North America. While it was widely believed that continent first became a human habitat when people migrated across the Bering Sea 40,000 to 17,000 years ago, recent discoveries may have pushed those estimates back at least another 90,000 years.”

          So the earliest inhabitants of North american are 40-90,000 years ago, and the “native americans” arrived 9-10,000 years ago.

          I would note that accross the globe, we are seeing significant discoveries that challenge the accepted history of humans prior to the younger Dryas.

          There is a growing body of evidence that dates homo-sapiens as almost double the age previously. challenges presumptions that Homo-sapiens was the first homind to use tools. and suggests the possibility of human civilzation as advanced as the currently earliest known prior to the younger Dryas. Suggesting that the event that plunged the world into an ice age and wiped out lots of life may also have set back human civilization more than 10,000 years.

          Regardless, as with climate and physics, you once again really do not know what you are talking about.

          the “native americans” are relatively recent arrivals to north america.
          Even DNA is establishing their arival within the past 10 millenia.

          I would further note that DNA appears to establish that nearly the entire existing population of the Americas diverged from east asians about 36,000 years ago, but probably did not arrive in North america earlier than 20,000 years ago.

          That means that the increasing body of peoples that arrived in North america 20-90,000 years ago were likely exterminated.

          Europeans arriving in North America such as the Vikings likely were exterminated. While modern europeans survived and displaced the
          “native americans” – because they were more advanced.

          Why is this difficult to accept – it is the history of hominids repeated over millions of years. It is the history of Homo Sapiens as far back as can be traced.

    2. “. . . the rape of Native lands . . .”

      Notice how those whose goal is to topple Western civilization (of which America is its greatest symbol) use such smear language — while ignoring important historical facts. In this case, the relevant facts are: Those “native peoples” were tribalistic, and engaged in the *barbaric* practice of (actually) raping and pillaging other “native peoples.” And some (actually) raped and pillaged Western settlers. Others aided and abetted our enemies during the Revolutionary War.

      I guess some have swallowed the swill sold by Margaret Mead — a poison labeled: “Noble savage.”

  8. Seriously, I would look at anyone with a recent college diploma and question the worth of their education with this kind of insanity going on.

    If schools of any kind can have drug-free zones or gun-free zones, can we have woke-free zones?

  9. Douglas Murry’s book “The War On The West” should be required reading at Universities whose administrations actually admire the West. Oh wait, that would probably be only a couple or so.

  10. Asiatic nomads were and are indigenous of nothing, with the possible exception of greater, nondescript Asia.

    Asiatic nomads were early, illegal alien, criminal invaders who had absolutely no right or otherwise legal authority to enter a country that was not theirs.

    Asiatic nomads cannot produce even a scintilla of documentation of their legal immigration to Canada, America or North America.

    Who consumes this communist tripe?

    This trash is inflammatory incitement to anarchy and sedition, produced and distributed by a consortium of Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin.

    All of these parasitic, derelict and fraudulent squatters must be compassionately repatriated to their continent of origin, which is discernible though DNA analysis.

  11. If these left wing wack jobs can get you to buy into this lunacy, they can get you to buy into anything.





    “Those who can do, those who can’t teach.”

    – George Bernard Shaw

    “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.”

    – Vladimir Lenin

    “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.”

    – Vladimir Lenin

    “Sometimes – history needs a push.”

    – Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

    “Give me just one generation of youth, and I’ll transform the whole world.”

    – Vladimir Lenin

    1. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

      – Sir Edmund Burke


    The enemy is clearly stating its rejection of law and objective of military conquest.

    The enemy must be identified and repulsed by whatever means necessary; borders and boundaries must be protected and their validity enforced.

    No people are native to or indigenous of North, Central and South America; the first immigrants and inhabitants were Asiatic nomads who transited the Alaskan Land Bridge.

    No recorder’s office existed and no property deeds are recorded and available before in America ~ 1640.

    Property deeds were first recorded in Canada in 1790.

    The remnants of Asiatic nomads in Canada own no land, but that which was given by treaty, gift or sale, and that which is recorded.

    A Bit of Deed History

    In medieval England, title to land was conveyed in fee simple by a feoffment with livery of seisin. The essence of this was a public ceremony, performed before witnesses, called a livery of seisin.1 The seller and buyer (feoffer and feoffee) met on the land, where the seller gave to the buyer something symbolic of the land like a twig or handful of earth, and made an oral statement transferring the land. No type of document was needed for this sort of transaction until 1677, when the Statute of Frauds required one for all transfers of land titles.2

    The Statute of Uses in 1535 effectively created an alternative form of conveyance, the bargain and sale. The seller (bargainor) basically promised to deliver the land to the buyer (bargainee) in exchange for a payment. The Statue of Uses provided that any written document transferring use of the land automatically transferred the title as well.3 The bargain and sale contract was useful because, unlike livery of seisin, the bargain and sale could take place in private and at a more convenient location than on the land itself. However it had the disadvantage that the Statute of Enrollment in 1536 required that a bargain and sale contract conveying land not only be written down, but also that the deed be enrolled in a public registry.

    Another type of conveyance used at this time was the grant, which was used to convey an incorporeal or future interest in land.4 Due to a peculiarity of the law, a deed of grant could not be used to convey a current interest in land. However, a special form of grant called a release could be used to convey a future interest to someone who already had a current interest. [The modern version is called a quitclaim.] This resulted in a very popular form of conveyance called a lease and release. Two agreements were required. First, a bargain and sale contract was executed by the seller to convey a lease on the land. [Unlike an outright sale, leases did not require enrollment in a public registry.] The seller then separately executed a release to grant to the buyer (who was now his tenant) a reversion of the seller’s interest. Voila! The effect was to transfer title to the buyer, since he now owned both the current and future interests in the land.

    Although it might seem that a bargain and sale of land was more straightforward, it did require livery and enrollment. A bargain and sale of a lease required neither. The lease and release thus became popular among those who wished to transact land sales in privacy, such as aristocratic families dividing up ancestral estates. [This was obviously a moot point in America.] In fact, the lease and release was heavily used in England well past the American Revolution, until an 1845 statute permitted the use of grants to transfer title to land.
    Forms of Deeds in Colonial America

    In America, deeds for land were made in all these forms. For instance, the first deed book for Surry County, Virginia covering deeds recorded 1652-1671 contains deeds executed by each of these methods.

    The specific method used for the conveyance was far less important in America than in England. The advantage of privacy, which favored lease and release conveyances in England, was eliminated by the actions of colonial legislatures which required public recording of deeds regardless of form they employed. Virginia, for instance, required deeds for land to be publicly recorded as early as 1640.5

    The most common form of colonial deed (at least in the southern colonies) was the bargain and sale. Livery of seisin and deeds of feoffment appear to have become steadily less popular to the point of becoming quite rare by the end of the colonial period. Lease and release conveyances seem to have been more popular in some areas than in others, perhaps more a reflection of a preference on the part of the individual clerks or attorneys who created them rather than any inherent advantage to the method. In Virginia, at least, there was seemingly no legislated preference as to method, nor any local advantage of one form over another. The statutes dealing with deeds persistently lump all the various types together, singling none out for special treatment.

  14. Jonathan: You quote extensively from the statements of George Brown College and the University of Colorado on how Canada and the US benefitted from the appropriation of Native lands and asking students and faculty to acknowledge that reality. You say: “There are various reasons why faculty and students may disagree” with those statements. And what might be those “various reasons”? You don’t fall back on the “free speech” argument so let me try to offer an explanation.

    In his inaugural address in 1929 Andrew Jackson (Trump’s idol among presidents) emphasized the “rights” of Native people’s. But just 14 months later he signed the “Removal Act” that forced Native Americans to leave the then US and settle west of the Mississippi River. In 1838 federal troops and Georgia volunteers forcibly relocated Cherokees. From that point forward the expansion of the US involved the wholesale expropriation of Native lands. Those who resisted were killed or forced into virtual concentration camps. Some early historians and politicians defended that genocide. Some said the federal government was simply bringing “civilization” and “Christianity” to backward peoples. You know–“noblesse oblige”. I doubt that today any historian or politician (maybe an occasional right-wing Republican) would defend those early genocidal policies and practices.

    So please explain the “various reasons” why anyone could dissent from college statements that want students and faculty to acknowledge the historical factual record about the treatment of Native peoples. I can’t think of one .Just the right to “dissent” doesn’t explain anything!

    1. With respect, Dennis, you appear to have missed the point entirely. It is quite simply compelled speech using blackmail as a club.

  15. I propose the following “loyalty statement:”

    “The faculty, staff, and students of XYZ University agree that the ‘Indigenous peoples’ (whatever the hell that means) were offered a great gift — the values of Western civilization (including reason, a wealth of knowledge, private property, the rule of contract, science). And, with rare exceptions, those ‘peoples’ spit in the face of that gift, and now work actively to destroy it. Such ‘peoples’ do not deserve the time of day (which they couldn’t figure out on their own) — and shall be known for what they are: barbarians.”

    1. Asiatic nomads were and are indigenous of nothing, with the possible exception of greater, nondescript Asia.

      Asiatic nomads were early, illegal alien, criminal invaders who had absolutely no right or legal authorization to enter a country that was not theirs.

    2. My father was MicMac , mother white . If I even existed before ” whitey” showed up , I would have lived in the stone age . 3/4 of my children would have died before the age of 5 . I would have a gut full of parasites. . I would have engaged in constant intertribal warfare . I would have an average lifespan of 35 years. I would have gotten my moose meat doing hand to hand combat , using a spear , wearing snowshoes . My leather clothes would have literally rotted off me over time. I would have practiced the dark arts and would have lived in constant fear some a hole would shoot ” medecine” at me and mine , and ruin our lives .WHAT IS IT EXACTLY I LOST THAT WAS SO GREAT.
      I travel in a nice f150 . I got a couple nice rifles . I have unlimited hunting and fishing rights . Have an outboard motor . Am 50 pounds overweight .Would have died at 40 from appendicitis if not for a white woman surgeon . I have a refrigerator and lots of denim clothing . Hot and cold water . Tv and stupid movies
      And best of all , Jesus Christ is way way way more powerful than the spirits of nature and I can just ignore the knuckle heads doing self serving magic , and don’t have to spend eternity wandering the earth as a disembodied spirit living off the land in a life just as lame as the one my ancestors lived . And by the way ,Jesus Christ sent whitey to put an end to the disgusting lifestyle indian people had to endure because they lived in the stone age and were constantly destroying each other over e slights , greed and famine . Whitey was the instrument of justice for centuries of heartless , immoral behavior.Now it’s over and I can proudly say I never had to murder anybody , or torture anybody to gain status , or eat anybody I killed to gain their specific talents , or live with the nightmares that all those behaviors bestow upon all those who indulge in such acts . Flick you libtards . YOU HAVE DESTROYED THE MINDS OF MANY A YOUTH , BUT YOU WONT BE GETTING MINE..

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