African Nova Scotian Connection
African Nova Scotian Acknowledgement
We recognize that African Nova Scotians are a distinct people whose histories, legacies and contributions have enriched that part of Mi’kma’ki known as Nova Scotia for over 400 years.
Development of an African Nova Scotian Acknowledgement
In recognition that African Nova Scotians/Indigenous Blacks are a distinct people with collective rights tied to over 52 land-based communities in that part of Mi’kma’ki known as Nova Scotia, the African Nova Scotian Strategy Advisory Council (Advisory Council) has developed an acknowledgement statement. The Advisory Council is composed of dedicated community leaders, some of whom are also Dalhousie staff and faculty members. Dalhousie’s African Nova Scotian Strategy, which the Advisory Council leads, grew out of the need for representation, connection, coordination and collaboration to increase the number of, and support for current, African Nova Scotia students, staff and faculty at the university.
The Need for an African Nova Scotian Acknowledgement
Having resided in the region for over 400 years, African Nova Scotian contributions to Nova Scotia and Canada began over 150 years before Canada became a country. African Nova Scotians came to the province through enslavement or through fleeing enslavement elsewhere, and continue to experience all manner of structural, systemic and individual discrimination. Until 1961, more than half of all Black people in Canada were African Nova Scotian. The Province of Nova Scotia identifies African Nova Scotians as a founding culture.
As institutions, individuals and organizations strive to recognize and eradicate systemic racism, and its historical and current impacts, there is an increased desire to acknowledge the history and richness of the African Nova Scotian people. An African Nova Scotian acknowledgement represents just one way of recognizing the resistance, resilience, creativity, spirituality and hope that has profoundly shaped our families and communities — and this province and country.
Using the African Nova Scotian Acknowledgement
The use of the statement is not meant to replace any other acknowledgements, especially not acknowledgements meant to recognize the Mi’kmaq and other Indigenous Peoples.
The Advisory Council has developed the acknowledgement statement as a starting point. Actively implementing strategies to address discrimination that will lead to change that empowers our community is at the heart of the Advisory Council’s work. We encourage allies to take the same approach. We ask that the acknowledgement be used to educate and incite implementation of short-term and long-term actions which aim to break down systemic and institutional racism faced by African Nova Scotians.
Director of African Nova Scotian Community Engagement
The Director plays an institutional leadership role in supporting the work to implement the Strategy recommendations, while actively supporting the access and success of prospective and current African Nova Scotian members of the Dalhousie community.
Monique Thomas (She/Her)
Director, African Nova Scotian Community Engagement (interim)