Tsleil-Waututh (pronounced tSLAY-wah-tooth) oral history tells us up to 10,000 Tsleil-Waututh members lived in our traditional territory, before contact with Europeans. Their ancestors' survival depended on cycles of hunting, harvesting and preserving foods, and on trade with their neighbours. The territory of this distinct Coast Salish nation includes Burrard Inlet and the waters draining into it.
ʔəýəÍyətənat Elder Mahara Albrett is an Elder with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and was a counsellor with the Aboriginal Wellness Program at VCH for more than 15 years until her retirement in 2017. She shares her teaching and wisdom about why it's important to give land acknowledgements and what it means.
“Land acknowledgements are important because they recognize that our territorial homelands are unceded. They give respect to our Nations and the lands which those gathered, are standing upon. If the people of that territory are not acknowledged then it is as if they are being made invisible. Also, in land acknowledgements our true name is given, beyond the names our colonial governments have given to us and our homelands. According to our teachings it's an acknowledgement of the ancestors that have been on the land. Our Knowledge Keeper has said that in pre-colonial times these types of protocols were very important. It would let the hosting nations or villages know that you were coming in peace."