Short Take: A Zoo Too Far

There is nothing wrong with acknowledging that the land beneath our feet, upon which our homes stand and where our children play once belonged to others. Whether that’s the horror of colonization or the normal trend of humanity as reflected in how peoples have rise and fall is a different matter. Were the people from whom the last colonizers took the land the rightful “owners,” or did their ancestors take it from their predecessors? Does it matter? It does if you work at the Toronto Zoo.

To call this an acknowledgement is troubling, as it’s not merely a call for recognition of an indisputable fact, that there were others here before “us,” provided you don’t test the “us” part to hard by asking what your first generation immigrant parents had to do with it. And if it stopped there, it would serve the purpose of having people think about the issue, regardless of whether it would serve to make them empathetic for what was done to those whose land it was before or not.

But then, the job requires that this “acknowledgement” be performed as a ritual before every meeting, every gathering. And it’s not merely a matter of self-reflection, but a psalm.

Not only is the flock told to speak the gospel aloud, but to practice it because “some of the pronunciations [ ] can be tricky.” God will not smile upon you if you mispronounce her name.

Granted, this is Toronto which, for the geographically-challenged, is in Canada, the land of Moulson, moose meat and invisible girlfriends. They have different laws than we do, and so the legality of such an employment requirement has little applicability to the United States. But the religious fervor and flavor of this acknowledgement knows no borders. Nor does the proselytization, which isn’t at all limited to the singular concern of the evils of colonization.

The question isn’t whether this is right or wrong, or as ridiculous as the “Filipinx diaspora” suggests, but whether it is recognized not as a matter of political belief but an ideology that can swiftly assume the trappings of a religion, from saying a prayer before services to making the big words “less scary.”

Presumably, it’s understood that those who would pray to the prophet Trump are no less religious fanatics desperately seeking a false idol, but then this would seem too obvious to require explanation. Who would be so blind and stupid as to pray to a vulgar, amoral, narcissistic ignoramus?

But the enticement of social justice is that it offers a more beneficent god. That’s what makes this woke religion more insidious, that one can easily agree with the worthiness of many of its concerns, empathy for indigenous people, support for the “marginalized” who suffered historic discrimination and providing everyone with the feelings of “safety and belonging.” There is nothing bad or wrong about any of these goals and acknowledgements, which is why it can so easily slip from a fair belief into a religion, just as it has at the Toronto Zoo.

16 thoughts on “Short Take: A Zoo Too Far

  1. Hunting Guy

    I bet this is some crap dreamed up by a woke person of whiteness and the natives are laughing their asses off.

    (I can call them natives because my wife is 1024 Native American and she says it’s OK. If someone objects, screw ‘em.)

    1. SHG Post author

      If I was a native, I wouldn’t be laughing. I would be screaming, “so cut the bullshit and give me my land back.”

      I’ve asked a few of my old pals who have gone woke whether they handed over their house or car keys to the people they oppressed. They no longer invite me to dinner.

  2. Paleo

    Proven by my mother’s genealogical work – the great (if somewhat nasty tempered) Cherokee chief Doublehead is my 7x great uncle. So I can laugh at this without being racially insensitive.

    This stuff in Toronto is pseudo intellectual horse pooey. And the thinking is laughably shallow and simple. If people expect to be taken seriously they should at least demonstrate the ability to understand complexity greater than that of your average 12 year old.

    A side note. Doublehead developed the habit of cutting a chunk of flesh out of the leg of white guys he killed and chewing on it. He once attended a peace conference in Philly and since he was somewhat famous the press hounded him for interviews. He was asked what he thought of the white man and responded “too salty”.

    So yeah, Uncle D would be laughing at solemn land acknowledgments.

  3. Howl

    Much of history is one group of people screwing another. Then sometimes the worm turns and the screwer becomes the screwee. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  4. Curtis

    There have always been invaders into to any area. The native Americans constantly moved from one area to another shoving out the previous owners. The remaining groups in the Americas (and elsewhere) were simply the most successful conquerors. And their prehistoric ancestors came from Asia and overwhelmed the previous waves of Asian immigrants.

  5. Hunting Guy

    Am I the only one that read the title and first sentence and thought the article was about giving the land back to the animals?

    Although I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of a movement like that, given some of the other stuff that has gone on lately.

    1. SHG Post author

      I was wondering if anyone would catch the irony that this was happening in a place that cages animals for people’s amusement.

  6. William Henson

    As one of the regular readers who lives in the land of hockey, moose and double doubles – I can attest that land acknowledgements such as the one at Toronto Zoo is commonplace here. There is definitely an air of performativity to the point of being religious. We even had such an acknowledgement before an online meeting regarding a zoning change application.

    I guess they feel it is the minimum they can do given the broken treaties, residential schools and there is no intention of giving land back

      1. William Henson

        Yes I thought you would like that, essentially – the developers make some statement that this land is not theirs and yet want to build a 28 story condo tower on it

Comments are closed.