(Fort McMurray, AB – June 21, 2021) – Today marks the 25th anniversary of National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada celebrating the heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. The Wood Buffalo 2023 Arctic Winter Games Host Society recognizes this day with the launch of its official Land Acknowledgement video.
“In 2020, the Wood Buffalo Arctic Winter Games Host Society developed a Land Acknowledgement to be read at the beginning of meetings and events as an act of reconciliation and to honour the traditional land we are located on,” said Melissa Blake, Chair of the Wood Buffalo Arctic Winter Games Board of Directors. “The official Land Acknowledgement video expands that use digitally while showcasing the beauty of our region.”
Before the creation of the video, the written Land Acknowledgement was developed in consultation with regional Elders who continue to support the traditional guidance of the Games.
“The Host Society would like to recognize all those involved in the development of the Land Acknowledgement and the creation of the official video,” said Blake. “This project was a truly collaborative effort from Elders, partners, stakeholders, volunteers and staff, creating this important visual representation of the land we honour each day.”
The Arctic Winter Games’ Elder in Residence, Alice Martin, shared her knowledge and was the lead collaborator on the development of Land Acknowledgement. Elder Alice Martin believes acknowledging and honouring the traditional lands is a great act of reconciliation, that it helps to set the tone for meetings and gatherings and shows good intentions of inclusivity to Indigenous groups within the Wood Buffalo region.
“I am reminded of where I come from, with all the gifts our people were given,” said Elder Alice Martin. “This gives me great pride and that deep understanding to see and work with those who have the courage to apply these teachings and gifts in their daily lives in a kind and respectful way.” The Land Acknowledgement video was created with the support of sponsors Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development and Tourism and Bouchier.