The Koshlong Lake Association is grateful to convene in Gidaaki, the Haliburton Highlands, as present custodians of the shores and waters of Koshlong Lake. We honour the Indigenous peoples of the Michi Saagiig and Chippewa Nations, who have lived in a sustainable relationship to these lands and waters for thousands of years. Through living treaty relationships, we continue to share this land with the First Nations of Curve Lake, Hiawatha, Alderville, Scugog Island, Rama, Beausoleil, and Georgina Island. We recognize that the policies and practices of colonization have brought harm to our Indigenous neighbours and their traditional kinship with the land. We offer these words humbly, in pursuit of truth, reconciliation, and rebuilding of our relationships with the natural world and with one another, for the benefit of generations to come.
The KLA adopted the above Land Acknowledgement in the spring of 2022 to draw attention to the long history of this land, and the people on it, predating our presence here. It is one way to disrupt the idea that Canada was built on empty land, and to remind us that we live in ongoing (not merely historical) relationships with First Nations peoples. As signatories to Treaty 20, the First Nations of Curve Lake, Hiawatha, Alderville, Scugog Island, Rama, Beausoleil, and Georgina Island maintain harvesting rights in the area – that is, they have an Aboriginal right to hunt, gather and fish for food, social or ceremonial purposes – and we have obligations to honour those rights. These rights are further affirmed by litigation settled in 2018 (see Williams Treaties First Nations Settlement Agreement at rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca) between the governments of these First Nations, Ontario and Canada.
In developing a land acknowledgement of our own, the KLA is seeking not only to acknowledge but to celebrate that we exist in ongoing relationship to our natural environment and each other, and that we are merely temporary guardians of these shores. We intend the adoption of this statement to be only a first step in further action to restore past, present and future connections with Indigenous neighbours around Koshlong and the greater area of Haliburton. And we hope that taking this step will inspire everyone in the Koshlong community to learn about the truths of our histories and our responsibilities, and to undertake meaningful actions toward reconciliation. We offer suggestions for further reading on the Indigenous Neighbours page.
Thanks to KLA member Rob Horsburgh for his photograph of Wallace Island used as the background photo throughout this site