The Department of Imaginary Affairs is situated on the land and waterways that have known human activity for thousands of years, long before it was ever called Canada. We are extremely privileged to be able to live and work on this land and owe gratitude and thanks to every caretaker of the land – past, present and future. The DIA team stands upon the territory within the Dish With One Spoon Covenant. This agreement made amongst Indigenous nations governs how to share the resources that the land and water provide. At the heart of the agreement is the image of a single dish that holds all the bounty and one spoon to draw from that dish. The agreement that everyone will take only what they need, always ensuring that something is left for those who follow. The Dish With One Spoon agreement remains in effect to this day. We are all responsible to live by these terms.
Many Indigenous people refer to North America as Turtle Island. The story of Turtle Island is one of identity, belonging, origin, and being connected to the land we live on. In this narrative, the story tells us that the world was once entirely flooded and that to make the land we live on today, sacrifices were made. While many animals tried, stronger and braver animals, it was Muskrat that dove down to the bottom of the great sea and gave their life for a single bit of mud. It was then that Turtle who offered their back for the land to be formed.
We are an organization that believes in the wisdom of story and honour where we come from and how we are connected as core to our work.
The Department of Imaginary Affairs would like to acknowledge and be in solidarity with Indigenous people and communities while we work beyond reconciliation and towards reciprocity.
The Department of Imaginary Affairs work would not be possible without recognizing that we are on the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit who are part of the Anishinaabe Nation, the Wyandot Nation, also the Haudenosaunee Confederacy of Six Nations, and any other Nation, recorded or unrecorded. The land we operate on is named Tkaronto (which you might colonially know as Toronto) meaning where the trees meet the water or the gathering place.
Before every workshop hosted or facilitated by a Department of Imaginary Affairs staff or trusted representative, we are committed to:
- Honouring the land we are on and the treaties or agreements held
- Expressing our sincere gratitude to the First Peoples and their care for the land
- Sharing our individual connection to the land and a personal story of reconciliation
As we strive to foster a country of belonging and inclusion, we know that is not possible without making personal connections and taking responsibility for what has come before us and what comes after us.
The 7 ancestor teachings tell us to focus on wisdom, love, respect, honesty, humility, bravery and truth.
Here is an example of Jennifer Chan, CEO and co-founder of the Department of Imaginary Affairs land acknowledgment and introduction:
Hello, I am Jenn. I use she/her pronouns. I am second-generation Chinese-Canadian. I was born and raised in Tkaronto (or Toronto as you might colonially know it.) Before I begin today, I would like to acknowledge that the work I do is not possible without acknowledging the land and water that nourishes me and where I am today.
I, and the Department of Imaginary Affairs are on the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit who are part of the Anishinaabe Nation, the Wyandot Nation, also the Haudenosaunee Confederacy of Six Nations, and any other Nation, recorded or unrecorded. The land we operate on is named Tkaronto (which you might colonially know as Toronto) meaning where the trees meet the water or the gathering place.
I am a settler on the stolen land of Turtle Island on a journey of personal reconciliation, I am a Mama of two children and am navigating my responsibility to them and to future generations. In my work as a foresighter, designer, researcher, facilitator and citizen, I take deep responsibility in honouring what has come before me and what I will leave behind for future generations. I believe we need to take a decolonized approach to this work.
As I live and work on the territory within the Dish With One Spoon Covenant, I work to uphold the intentions of this agreement which is to only take what you need and ensure there’s enough for those who follow.
We encourage all organizations and individuals operating within the country we currently call Canada to do their own reflection and take action towards reciprocity through learning and unlearning the impacts of colonialism and white supremacy.