Saugeen Shores new Council adopts new Indigenous Land Acknowledgement Policy at Inaugural meeting

Saugeen Shores new Council was officially sworn in on Tuesday, November 15th (2022) with the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Vice-deputy Mayor and Councillors each making a Declaration of Office, tantamount to an ‘oath’.

While the Declarations in the past have been followed by a moment of grace/blessing from a member of the Saugeen Shores Ministerial, this year an Indigenous ‘smudging’ ceremony took place hosted by wellness curators Jim and Lori Kewaquom of Saugeen First Nation.

“This underscores the relationship between our community and the First Nations and the extent to which we are committed to a path forward with the First Nations,” said Mayor Luke Charbonneau. “As an organization, we are dedicated to learning about Indigenous culture, fostering a better relationship with the First Nations people and we commit ourselves to action that move us forward on a path of healing with the people of Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON).”

As its first resolution, the new Council officially recognized its location on the traditional lands and treaty territory of Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) and passed the motion to acknowledge that fact at any official meetings and events. 

“This policy is an important step in the relationship between the Town and our Indigenous neighbours,” added Mayor Luke Charbonneau. “We took our time to write the policy and the statement because we want it to feel meaningful and genuine every time it’s said.” 

The Town’s report and statement is directly influenced by the federal government’s 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Report, and that report’s recommendations and statement also builds on the Indigenous ritual of acknowledging the land to start meetings or gatherings. 

“The first meeting of a new Council is largely ceremonial, with members having the chance to talk about their vision for the upcoming term,” added Charbonneau, a 16-year Council veteran. “Introducing the Land Acknowledgement right away sets the tone for the meeting and indeed for the next four years.”

The policy also recommends rotating responsibility for the reading among members to demonstrate Council’s shared commitment to the ritual.   

To read the Town of Saugeen Shores Land Acknowledgement Policy and Statement,
click HERE

To watch the Inaugural meeting of Saugeen Shores Council, CLICK HERE.