Learning about Indigenous Peoples, education, worldviews, and methodologies is much more than how we respond to trauma. Browse our page to access various resources that may be important to your work.

Contact us if you have further questions or require support by filling out our contact form.


A protocol is an understood and agreed-upon guideline for working with Indigenous Peoples in a culturally distinctive manner. Protocols often centre around reciprocity, kindness and respect, and usually require certain gifts or offerings. This depends on who you work with, their teachings and their nations/clans.

Protocols are significant to relationship building, and it is good manners to enquire about protocols when working with Indigenous Peoples. Following protocols is a journey of learning, growing and being in a continuous relationship with place, teachings, knowledge and culture.

When do we need a protocol? If you don’t know, it’s always best to ask and come prepared.

Protocols for working with Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers

We can help you determine the best path forward for relationship building with Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers. Indigenous Knowledge is unique, and the Office of Indigenous Initiatives is here to help you incorporate Indigenous Knowledge into your work.

Please email Jacob Hill, Indigenous student wellness advisor, to learn more about this.

If you know that you would like to request a service from an Elder or Knowledge Keeper, you can fill out our contact form.

Protocols of place: a guide to writing a Land Acknowledgement

Image of the grand river

Indigenous Peoples across the world have a relationship with the land that is often embedded in their languages, cultures, and ways of knowing. At Conestoga, we endeavour to recognize and uphold these relationships by mindfully and intentionally developing Land Acknowledgements that are relevant, meaningful, and specific.

This resource intends to provide a framework for writing your own land acknowledgment and tools and resources to support you in this work. There are accompanying professional development opportunities through Employee Experience & Development.

Land Acknowledgement freqeuntly asked questions

Why don’t we have an official Land Acknowledgement?

Here are some reasons we are moving away from scripted Land Acknowledgements: 

  1. Following the example of Indigenous Knowledge Keepers and Elders, we recognize that these acknowledgments should be rooted in relationships rather than in ideas of ownership, property, and/or capital expenditures. We look to wampum belts, like the Dish with One Spoon and the Two Row wampum to guide us when describing these relationships with ourselves, each other and the land and water. 

    “Wampum belts are visual memory keepers that mark significant events and codify agreements. The Dish with One Spoon wampum models how relationships should be formed and maintained.”
    Rick Hill (2020)

  2. Conestoga occupies various lands which may fall under different treaties. It’s important to be specific to the lands you live, work, and play on each time you deliver a Land Acknowledgement. This demonstrates a level of intentionality that is becoming increasingly standardized across post-secondary institutions provincially, and nationally.        

    “Children, language, lands: almost everything was stripped away, stolen when you weren’t looking because you were trying to stay alive. In the face of such loss, one thing our people could not surrender was the meaning of land. In the settler mind, land was property, real estate, capital, or natural resources. But to our people, it was everything: identity, the connection to our ancestors, the home of our nonhuman kinfolk, our pharmacy, our library, the source of all that sustained us. Our lands were where our responsibility to the world was enacted, sacred ground. It belonged to itself; it was a gift, not a commodity so it could never be bought or sold,”
    Robin Wall Kimmerer
    Braiding Sweetgrass (p 17)

  3. Using creativity and curiosity as tools for change: when we challenge ourselves to move beyond scripted Land Acknowledgements, we are activating opportunities for genuine and authentic engagement. We question what it is that we are acknowledging, and we are demonstrating to students, employees and partners that we are intentional about this work, which leads to safer, most equitable spaces.        

    “No matter how detailed and considerate a territorial acknowledgement spoken in a [non-indigenous] space is, it can never be more than a move to innocence if it is not combined with concrete actions embedded in relationships of solidarity,”
    Asher, Curnow and Davis.
    The limits of settlers’ territorial acknowledgments. Curriculum Inquiry 18:3, 316 – 324. (2018).

What are some tips for writing Land Acknowledgements?
  • Make it relevant; tie your acknowledgment to the reason you are gathered. Make the acknowledgment real by providing concrete examples of what it is you appreciate about the land and water you work, live, and play on. Provide examples of how your work intersects with the land, waters and people of the land.
  • Whenever possible, take the Land Acknowledgement outside. Indigenous Peoples have practiced this artform since time immemorial and it is a methodology rooted in land-based learning and teaching methodologies. As often as we can, it is important to do this work on and with the land and water. Of course, we recognize that this isn’t always possible. Don’t let that stop you from forgetting where you are.
  • Research and engage with the stories of the Indigenous Peoples, lands, and waters in which you live, work and play. We encourage you to use the resources provided below which have been vetted by the Office of Indigenous Initiatives to build your acknowledgement.
  • Ask yourself, “Why is this important to me?” and include that in your acknowledgement.
  • Non-Indigenous people should always deliver Land Acknowledgements. It’s important to recognize that this work is taken on by non-Indigenous people to start the important work of Truth and Reconciliation.
  • Land Acknowledgements should reflect relational accountability to the Indigenous Peoples and places around. Relational Accountability means relationships are built upon respect and reciprocity. When we engage with Indigenous knowledges, ways of knowing and ways of learning, we can transform our approaches to Truth and Reconciliation.
  • Do what you can where you are! This resource is meant to provide a framework that gives you the tools and resources to do the work. We believe in you.

"Each individual is therefore responsible for his or her own actions, but not in isolation. Individual responsibility for actions must be in relation to all living organisms. It is this web of relationship with each individual in the center that stretches out in all directions. This is our understanding of how the universe is held together. We believe that the interconnection among all living organisms is essential for all life forms. The connections must be respected and honored."
Wilson and Wilson (1998)

What's the framework for creating a Land Acknowledgement?

This framework is meant as a guide to write your own Land Acknowledgement. We believe that if you are meaningfully engaging with the material and resources provided, you will write and deliver a meaningful Land Acknowledgement.       

Conestoga College respectfully acknowledges that we are on _________________________________.        

Describe the people, lands and waters, stories, languages and cultures and how they influence your work, the event, the class that you are hosting. Say thank you.        

Acknowledge and describe the non-human life forces that on these territories and how you are relationally accountable to them. Say thank you.        

We are able to live, work and play on _______________________ because of the generosity of Indigenous nations.        

Make relevant the topic of your event or class by researching connections with the topic you are presenting. Tell people why this is important to make these connections and demonstrate your gratitude.        

We seek to always promote the truth, work towards reconciliation, and ensure that Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing are at the forefront of our work.        

Conestoga resources

Conestoga’s Library Services created an Indigenous Resources Guide that can be used as a starting point to find multidisciplinary eBooks, journals, and films for educational, research, and leisure purposes. Most of the work highlighted in this guide is by First Nations, Inuit and Metis authors and filmmakers.