On November 2, 2016, Georgian College unveiled a land acknowledgment plaque acknowledging that all of its campuses are located on traditional Anishnaabeg territory.
Georgian has offered Indigenous services and programs since 1992. The land acknowledgment marked the beginning of a college-wide effort to further infuse Indigenous ideas and values into Georgian’s curriculum, student services, activities, and processes. Indigenization has been officially introduced as a priority in Georgian’s 2016-2021 Strategic Plan.
The land acknowledgment is now read before all major Georgian events to acknowledge that the Anishnaabeg people are the original inhabitants of this region, and to pay respects to the continued relationships between the college and Indigenous people.
“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission marked the beginning of a new and more hopeful chapter in Canadian history,” says Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes, President and CEO of Georgian College. “Georgian wants to be part of the nationwide effort to restore trust between Indigenous peoples and public institutions – and we think that effort begins right here on our campuses.”
Georgian’s student population is rapidly changing. The college now serves 11,000 full-time students, including 1,100 international students and 570 students who identify as Indigenous.
“It’s important to acknowledge that Indigenous people are the original inhabitants of Canada,” explains Tareyn Johnson, Indigenization Coordinator at Georgian College. “It is a first step in the process of creating awareness about Indigenization and presenting the accurate history of this nation.”