Équiterre's reconciliation process
1. Why have a decolonization and reconciliation process?
As an organization concerned with environmental and social justice, Équiterre seeks to be an ally to Indigenous peoples.
We believe that the necessary social and ecological transitions cannot be achieved without the participation of all members of society. Indigenous peoples have much to teach us about the relationship between humans and nature.
Équiterre has been collaborating with Samuel Rainville, Senior Advisor for Relations with Indigenous people at Université de Montréal.
Mr. Rainville is of Innu origin and is a trainer for Mikana. He has a graduate degree in environmental education and a certificate in environmental sciences.
Équiterre seeks to put forth concrete measures to formalize its reconciliation process and collaborate with Indigenous peoples, while carrying out its environmental and social mission. Within five years, Équiterre would like to:
- Integrate decolonization and reconciliation into Équiterre's next strategic plan and action plan.
- Educate Équiterre's staff team in order to increase literacy on Indigenous issues and consolidate commitment to the organization's reconciliation process.
- Allocate more resources to the process.
Équiterre has developed an action plan in order to achieve the following objectives:
- Publicly recognize and promote the legitimacy of Indigenous knowledge
- Inform and encourage Équiterre’s community (employees and supporters) to get on board with our process and approach to Indigenous issues and realities.
Integrate Indigenous issues into Équiterre's activities and projects.
A series of actions are being carried out both internally and externally, such as taking a stance on environmental issues involving Indigenous communities, adopting a territorial acknowledgement as well as providing training and educational resources on Indigenous realities to all employees.
Équiterre is committed to putting this action plan in place, with human relations at the heart of the process. Rooted in three essential values - humility, respect and dialogue - this approach cannot be achieved without discussion, collaboration and co-creation with Indigenous peoples.
Humility: Équiterre recognizes that it has much to learn about reconciliation and decolonization.
Respect: Équiterre's approach is based on openness, flexibility, patience and the desire to always do better.
Dialogue: Équiterre's process can be enriched and improved by exchanges with Indigenous people and communities, as well as with its staff team, partners and supporters.
Équiterre's territorial acknowledgement was developed by a committee of employees sensitive to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. It was approved by Équiterre's executive committee.
Équiterre's offices are located on Indigenous lands that have not been ceded by treaty, which we now call Montreal and Quebec City, where different Indigenous peoples have interacted with each other. We recognize that Indigenous peoples have been protecting their territories since immemorial times and have been using their traditional knowledge to guard the lands and waters. We are grateful to live on these lands and are committed to continuing our efforts to protect them. As an organization concerned with environmental and social justice, Équiterre respects the important links between the past, the present and the future. We recognize the road ahead in implementing our mission, while building relationships with Indigenous peoples in humility, respect and dialogue.
An abbreviated version of the acknowledgement is sometimes used for practical reasons, such as when included in an email or press release.
Why have a territorial acknowledgement?
It is a first step. It marks the beginning of a process which Équiterre hopes will evolve. We recognize that as an organization, we have a long way to go and we are aware that this is a process that requires respect, patience and listening. We hope that this territorial acknowledgement is the beginning of a conversation between our team, our members and supporters and Indigenous communities.
This acknowledgement is also an educational tool. It will be revised as we learn and as our organization evolves, particularly in terms of the concrete actions we are taking to accelerate the transition to a more just and sustainable society.
Our territorial acknowledgement explained
Équiterre's offices are located on Indigenous lands that have not been ceded by treaty…
The words "Indigenous lands that have not been ceded by treaty" mean that there was no legal agreement to formalize the cession of Indigenous peoples' territories to the colonizing people, nor were these territories abandoned.
…that we now call Montreal and Quebec City, where different Indigenous peoples have interacted with each other.
The territories where Équiterre's offices are located are historically places of passage, exchange and sharing. In other words, different Indigenous communities have occupied and lived on these territories. They were more mobile before the arrival of colonizers, which led to the forced sedentarization of Indigenous peoples. As a primarily non-Indigenous organization, Équiterre expresses its support and solidarity with all these communities.
We recognize that Indigenous peoples have been protecting their territories since immemorial times and have been using their traditional knowledge to guard the lands and waters.
We value the deep knowledge that Indigenous peoples have of their territory and of nature. We recognize that their practices and knowledge represent solutions to the environmental challenges we face.
We are grateful to live on these lands and are committed to continuing our efforts to protect them.
By occupying and using these lands, we too have a responsibility to protect them. We note "continuing our efforts" reminds us that environmental protection is part of Équiterre's mission.
As an organization concerned with environmental and social justice, Équiterre respects the important links between the past, the present and the future. We recognize the road ahead in implementing our mission, while building relationships with Indigenous peoples in humility, respect and dialogue.
We are aware of the injustices that continue to exist and the privileges enjoyed by all non-Indigenous people, and we recognize the intersectionality of environmental and social struggles. Équiterre therefore takes note of the past and the present for this sincere and respectful decolonization process, making it an essential element of the organization's future actions.
For any questions about Équiterre's reconciliation process, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org