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In other news, the Peel Regional Police held a press conference on November 7 to discuss their investigation into suspected armed robberies and carjackings in Brampton, Ontario. However, the press conference took an unexpected turn when Constable Nikhil Chakravarthy, the Public and Media Relations Officer, began the event with a minute-long land acknowledgement for Mississauga, Ontario. This drew some criticism from the public, with some deeming it unnecessary and irrelevant to the purpose of the press conference.
The video from the event shows Chakravarthy delivering the land acknowledgement alongside Mayor of Brampton ‘Sneaky’ Patrick Brown and other officers. He starts by expressing thanks to those in attendance and then acknowledges the land as part of the treaty lands and territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. He further mentions the indigenous peoples who have inhabited and cared for the land over thousands of years and acknowledges the territories of various indigenous tribes. Chakravarthy closes his statement by expressing gratitude for the opportunity to work on the land and give respects to its First Nations.
Following the posting of the clip online, there was a mixed reaction from the public, with some criticizing the land acknowledgement as virtue signaling and irrelevant to the topic of the press conference. Rebel News’ Ian Miles Cheong condemned the performance, calling it “pathetic virtue signaling” and stating that land acknowledgements are meaningless unless they actually intend to give land back to the indigenous people.
Another post references the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which proposes giving land back to indigenous peoples and taking sovereignty away from nations themselves to decide on how to use their natural resources. However, this proposal has been met with controversy and debate. Some have criticized the framing of the argument, stating that land acknowledgements play into the colonial/post-colonial/de-colonial frame and are unnecessary.
The City of Mississauga describes land acknowledgements as “short statements that recognize both the land and the indigenous people who lived and in many situations continue to live on the land prior to Canada’s colonial history.” This statement is meant to honor and acknowledge the history and presence of indigenous peoples on the land.