I am a settler. I am a new settler. I moved to Canada about four years ago. Even though I am queer, and in a racialized body, I am still a settler, and will forevermore be known as a settler. What does it mean to be a settler on Indigenous land? It means to understand the harm that has been caused, the harm that settlers continue to cause, to take it upon yourself, to limit the harm that continues to be caused. As a settler, I had to educate myself on the various treaties that I am living on. As a settler, it is my responsibility to continue living on Indigenous land, through gratitude, through constant gratitude. What does that mean? That means take time to seek Indigenous resources and groups to educate yourself to stand in solidarity with your Indigenous neighbors to create space for their voices to be prioritized, to be heard, and validated.
Within a month of coming to Canada, I was told I'm on the traditional land of Indigenous peoples. I was in an art space waiting for the play to start. And the Director walks to the podium and says that we're on the traditional land of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Neutral peoples. I didn't know what he meant and that's on me. I had an idea of this space of Canada, one that was primarily based on White North American pop culture. For the past four years of being here, and taking up space, I have educated myself on the word Indigenous, its use and its power. I'm educating myself on the Indigenous history of a space we have come to know as Canada, a word that means settlement. I have migrated to Canada and have settled here. I am a settler. Hundreds of years ago, many migrated and settled here. They and I are settlers and will forever be known as such. I am now aware that I am taking up space, I want to try doing so in ways that reduce the harm caused to the original inhabitants of this space and hold the ones causing harm today, yesterday and the day before, accountable. I am now aware that I must acknowledge this space, its story its history, its relations, and be grateful to them and honor them.