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May we suggest

Features / December 3, 2020

A Digital Land Acknowledgement

Existing As a Settler On Unceded Land: A Guide
Deirdre Lee, (2020), Waiting for the Bus at the North Street Bridge.
Deirdre Lee, (2020), Waiting for the Bus at the North Street Bridge.


Step one

Read this poem aloud

Ideally outside

in the sun

So the trees & the wind can listen in

If this makes you roll your eyes


Go away

Have a nap

Try again


Step two

Learn what “unceded” means

Understand that this

is just the beginning


Step three 

Be present

with feelings of being uncomfortable

or embarrassed

You could probably use the practice


these feelings are not life-threatening


Step four

Locate yourself



Time for Q&A

Time to know

Time to say

Whose traditional territory

do you live

& breathe

& work

& love upon?


Who was here

for thousands of years

before you?


Step five


that though

Indigenous Peoples

are ancient

We are also

still alive

Resist the urge to mythologize

Reject what


(if anything)

you have been taught in school

or in most mainstream media

Embrace this truth:

You have no idea


Step six

It’s not your job to fix this

Or it is

But as an accomplice

You are not the boss

No matter your activist street cred

In this

you are a rookie

Let go of expectation

Of being in charge

Of being lauded

Of getting an ally cookie


Step seven

Seven generations

Seven teachings

Seven months to seventy

1752 Treaty


& youth

Are rising

Are speaking

Are you listening?

Are you learning?


Step eight


Pace yourself on this journey


is not an on-off switch


is no magic-spell scenario


is more like encouraging plants to grow

Nurture your skills

& heart




Fuck up




Step nine

This guide

is not permanent

Or definitive

Or chronological

There is no such thing as linear time

This work does not come with finish line


This is an article from our special all-Indigenous digital issue, “Sovereignty.”

Deirdre Lee

Deirdre Lee is a poet, performer and maker of art, food, medicines and magic. Her work is intertwined with her complicated and sometimes confusing reality as a racialized, neurodivergent woman, and explores her perspectives on identity and healing. Deirdre lives in Kjipuktuk, in Mi'kma'ki, the traditional and unceded territory of the Mi'kmaq and the home of Black arrivants for more than three centuries.