Learning about land acknowledgements is an act of reconciliation


CommAlert’s Tim Carwell shares the significance of Land Acknowledgements at the Junior Achievement Northern Alberta Business Hall of Fame.

On October 26, 2023, Junior Achievement Northern Alberta and NWT (JA) held their 43rd Business Hall of Fame event. This event honours the region’s most esteemed business visionaries for their life achievements and service to the economy, community, and collective future of Albertans.

In addition, it serves as a fundraising event to help support JA programs for students. These programs educate youth about business, entrepreneurship, work readiness, and financial literacy through experience and hands-on programming.

Tim Carwell, citizen of Beaver First Nation and CommAlert Group CEO, was asked to give a land acknowledgement at the event and offer his perspective on the significance and meaning of land acknowledgements.

“The role of JA is really about connecting students with mentors with real-world experience. With Tim’s experience as an entrepreneur and through his own cultural discovery, I thought it was important to bring his perspective to the event,” said Cheryll Watson, President and CEO of Junior Achievement Northern Alberta and NWT.

“I was pleasantly surprised when my friend, Cheryll Watson, approached me about providing a land acknowledgement today. I was pleased to find out that there was an interest in doing more for the people in this room than just speaking the words of reconciliation. I was grateful to have a teachable moment that might lead to action in our communities,” said Tim Carwell during his presentation.

Carwell continued to share what land acknowledgement meant to him, a First Nations entrepreneur and the son of a survivor, making it clear that this was not ‘the only way.’

“What matters is that you speak your words with your heart. When delivered humbly, your words have healing power for everyone present, and they have the power to unite,” said Carwell.

According to Carwell, taking time to honour the past, always acknowledging the present, demonstrating respect for all, and inspiring others to action are all essential components of a meaningful land acknowledgement.

The presentation was well received by attendees of the JA Northern Alberta Business Hall of Fame event. In alignment with the event’s objectives, it provided an opportunity to learn something new and inspire others in “nurturing the power of partnership and collaboration,” which is a Junior Achievement value.

“Thank you for creating space for me to explain what a land acknowledgement means in more detail here on Treaty 6, the homelands of the Métis, Inuit people and the ancestral home for the Dene, Cree, Blackfoot, Saulteaux, and Nakota Sioux people whose ancestors have walked this land since time immemorial. Our histories, languages and cultures continue to contribute to the good work of all the people who call this place home. Acknowledging this work and embracing the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is an act of reconciliation. It adds the benefit of inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in an ever-changing global economy. It is my honour to thank those that walk the path with us.” –  Tim Carwell

Learn more about Junior Achievement: https://janorthalberta.org/