The land acknowledge was pre-emptively given by Sam Sammadar in his welcoming to the conference. We are grateful for his words. We would also like to present the land acknowledgement prepared by the Bird Strike Association of Canada, but which was not presented at the conference.
We are here on the traditional and unceded territory of the West Bank First Nation, part of the Syilx Okanagan Nation. We are grateful to them for their care and management of the land for many millennia. and their continued presence on these lands. The concept of sharing the land among those of us who have arrived in Canada within the past few hundred years is relatively recent – a couple hundred years in British Columbia. Land ownership is not a concept embraced by First Nations. Rather they believe that we borrow the land from future generations. Owning versus borrowing the land we live on changes the relationship we have with the land and makes it incumbent upon us to leave the land in the same or better condition when we pass it on to those future generations. Let us reflect on our relationship to the land, to the shared histories between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and to the price that Indigenous people have paid for the existence of this place. Let us give thanks for being able to gather in this beautiful valley to advance the goal of aviation safety but not at the expense of conservation.