The Art Gallery of York University respectfully acknowledges our presence on the traditional territory of Indigenous Nations including the Wendat, Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), and Anishinaabe, and that this territory is the subject of the Dish With One Spoon Covenant and Wampum between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Three Fires Confederacy (the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Pottawatomie), and allied nations to peaceably share and care for the resources in and around the Great Lakes. The Three Fire Confederacy includes the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, who settled in what is now the City of Toronto. In 1805, the Mississaugas agreed to the sale of tracts of land known as Crown Treaty No. 13 (also referred to as the Toronto Purchase), although the payment for the land was not concluded until 2010. As a result of the Toronto Purchase, the protection and management of the land is now shared with the present generation of inhabitants of Toronto and, as Métis Elder Duke Redbird reminds us, “remembering always that we never own the land but rather borrow its use from our children.”
In 2011, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation presented the AGYU with an Eagle Feather to acknowledge our continued relationship, built through collaboration beginning in 2009 and which has resulted in three projects, The Awakening, 2011; Ring of Fire, 2015; and Braided Roots, 2018. We have installed this Eagle Feather permanently in the AGYU lobby as a visual reminder of our friendship, respect, and trust within this relationship.
In acknowledging that York University occupies colonized Indigenous territories, and out of respect for the rights of Indigenous people, we accept our collective responsibility to recognize our colonial histories as well as their present-day manifestations and to honour, protect, and sustain this land.