As people who are passionate about skiing, it is important to recognize and reflect on the fact that, like canoeing, surfing and kayaking, skiing has its own Indigenous roots. Skiing, according to current anthropological understanding, developed in Altais in Central Asia and also with the Sami people in Scandinavia.

As settlers on Indigenous territory, we acknowledge the past and will act in the present for a more equitable future. WWHSTA operates on the traditional territory of the Aneshinabeg: the Chippewa, Mississauga, Algonquin, Nipissing, Ojibwe; the Metis Nation of Ontario and the Wahta Mohawk Territory. We understand that we have a responsibility to consciously address and continuously reflect on the historical and contemporary impact of colonization. This land acknowledgement is an act of reconciliation. It is a recognition of and sign of respect for Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous cultures and Indigenous land rights. Harm towards Indigenous Peoples in Canada is a direct result of previous Governments’ policies (Truth and Reconciliation Commission, 2015). Colonization is the process of imposing political and cultural dominance over a group. There is a system that perpetuates colonization and racism in Canada that inflicts harm towards Indigenous People. Acts of colonization have included, but are not limited to: denial of treaty rights, displacement from traditional territory, forced relocation, removal of children into residential schools and foster care, repression of cultural practices and language use, incarceration, failure to accept and ratify the UN Convention of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the legal frameworks of the Indian Act.

Treaties, including the Two-Row Wampum agreement (1609), Dish with One Spoon agreement (1701), Treaty of Niagara (1764), Robinson Treaties (1850), and Williams Treaties (1923), set down in law the duty to share the land equitably between Indigenous Peoples and those who settled on their lands. There was an understanding that the land would be shared in peaceful coexistence. Settler colonization imposed land theft, forced relocation, paternalism, and assimilation policies that purposefully alienated Indigenous Peoples from their traditional territories, cultures and language. This created a lasting legacy of intergenerational trauma.

We recognize and respect that the traditional lands on which we live, learn, and play have been cared for by Indigenous Peoples. We acknowledge the treaties that bind Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples.

Allyship is a continuous process. Awareness of the legacy of harm created by colonialism is necessary to meaningful engagement in reconciliation. In order to make meaningful change, action is required.

WWHSTA will consult with local Indigenous communities as we strive towards mutual respect, partnership, collaboration, and cooperation. We will listen to Indigenous Peoples and incorporate their ideas into future practices. We will connect with local Indigenous teachers and consultants to offer workshops to our members, in order to help them learn about Indigenous perspectives. We will encourage our members to attend events to show our support and allyship to local First Nations. We will seek to share our love of backcountry ski touring by reaching out to local First Nations and offer inclusion in our events. We will revisit our practices regularly to see where and how we can do better.

As active participants in the reconciliation process, we work towards reshaping our colonial mindset, striving to live each day a bit differently. We commit to shifting our culture towards fostering belonging, intentional inclusion and affirming Indigenous rights.

Further reading

Truth and Reconcilliation Commission Calls to Action

Two Row Wampum

Dish With One Spoon

Williams Treaties

Robinson Treaties of 1850

Treaty of Niagara, 1764

Timeline of Important Ski History Dates