The Halifax Regional School Board became the third in Canada last year to make land acknowledgements in school mandatory.
But APTN News has been told the Nova Scotia government may have been meddling in the wording of acknowledgements.
They’re missing the word “unceded”, a term used by most Mi’kmaq to describe the land they never gave away.
“It was the office of Aboriginal Affairs that directed us away from it, to start out anyway. And, as well as our lawyers. They told us there wouldn’t be any legal implications, but just because the word is so heavy and without the education a lot of people don’t understand what the word is,” said Jessica Rose, the school board’s Mi’kmaw representative.
But some are pushing for the term’s inclusion, such as Rebecca Moore.
“With the knowledge that is it unceded Mi’kmaq territory, because that’s something that’s still being challenged by the greater population of Canada, they will know the facts. And it’s a great educational opportunity, and that’s really what this is about,” said Moore.
One school principal said it’s important for students to know the truth of where they live and learn.
“Unceded lands of Indigenous Peoples — the more they hear that, I’m hopeful that the more they will appreciate our history and what has happened to the Indigenous Peoples of Canada,” said Robert MacMillan, principal of Halifax Central Junior High.
MacMillan said he intends to bring his concern of omitting unceded to the school board.
“Because it’s an important part of the whole reconciliation process,” he said. “The lands do belong to Indigenous people, and…we haven’t taken it from them — they still own it. We need to acknowledge that.”