Acknowledging our Shared Territory

Acknowledging our Shared Territory” is a short film featuring local Indigenous leaders that delves more deeply into the subject of Territory Acknowledgments. Although the film focuses on Galiano*, it provides perspectives that are relevant to communities across Turtle Island**.

Directed by filmmaker Richard Wilson, and supported by the Galiano Conservancy Association (GCA)in partnership with the Access to Media Education Society(AMES), we see this film as a conversation starter, and hope it stimulates further discussion, home-work, and action for change.

*Galiano was named after a Spanish explorer. While there are many Hul’q’umi’num names for specific bays, hunting and harvesting areas on the island, we do not know of any Indigenous name for the entire landmass that is known as Galiano.

** Based on an Ojibway/Anishinabe creation story, Turtle Island is what many Indigenous groups refer to as North America. Like Territory Acknowledgments, its current usage is an act of reclamation that emphasizes that North America (named as such by Spanish explorers) was inhabited before the arrival of Europeans.

Parts of the story of how this short film came to be:

This film is a response to numerous questions and conversations within the Galiano community about who should be asked to do territorial acknowledgments, which of the many Nations that have overlapping rights and responsibilities to this place should be named (there are at least 13!), and how to do so in a manner that is meaningful and appropriate.

The film has also evolved out of conversations and connections that have been forged since 2012 through a series of inter-island, inter-cultural, and inter-generational projects involving the Penelakut and Galiano communities.  Though each project yielded different benefits, the most enduring outcome was the opportunities they provided to seed, grow, nurture and heal relationships between the two island communities specifically, and more generally Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

In that way, the inspiration behind this film’s call to restore right relationships with the land, and between Indigenous and settler communities, goes as far back as First Contact.

Though this film speaks to and from the current context of reconciliation, the hope is that it will help motivate us to begin (or continue) the messy and complex process of reconcile-ACTION.

Each of the following projects approaches the work from a different angle, but a common thread among them is the revitalization of connections between creativity, food, land stewardship, and community well being,

  • Two Islands United was initiated by the Galiano Club in 2012. It provided Galiano and Penelakut Elders with opportunities to gather to share food and pass on knowledge of wild foods and foraging, including traditional foods and medicines, in the forest and watersheds and at the sea shore. These gatherings were documented by local youth and edited by Richard Wilson into a short film called “Wisdom Harvest.”
  • Digital Forage is a wild-food focused intergenerational digital storytelling program that involves reciprocal knowledge-sharing between Galiano and Penelakut artists, elders, and youth. Using art and technology as bridges between generations and ways of life, this project culminated in the SalishHarvest.com website which features wild foods, medicines and stories of traditional knowledge holders.
  • The Native Forage Forest is a shared space located at the Millard Learning Centre, where an indigenous forest ecosystem is being restored and stewarded. It will provide foods, medicines and materials to the Penelakut and Galiano communities, and ongoing opportunities for education, renewal, and cultural expression.

All of these project involved collaboration between members of both communities, and partnerships between the following organizations: