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Reconciling rights to land – CBA National Magazine

31 Oct 2023

Aboriginal title and property rights in Canada seem to operate in separate realities. Amitpal Singh wants to bridge the two.

As a law student at the University of Toronto, Amitpal Singh heard this statement, or a slightly altered version of it, time and time again:

“I (we) wish to acknowledge this land on which the University of Toronto operates. For thousands of years, it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of the Credit. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land.”

Land acknowledgments like this one will sound familiar to many, as they have become a customary feature of public gatherings, particularly within certain institutions. They aim to acknowledge the connection Indigenous people have with their traditional lands. But what do they say from a legal point of view?

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