SIGIR 2021 Technological Acknowledgment
SIGIR 2021 is a virtual conference. We welcome everyone joining us virtually from across the world this week, using a suite of technological platforms and solutions to connect and engage. As we gather to discuss, envision, and build future information access technologies, let us recognize that these platforms and tools exist in the real world, and have serious impact on real people and real lives. The technologies we employ to connect and communicate during the conference did not emerge out of the ether, but were built by institutions and individuals and using infrastructure and materials physically located on multiple territories around the world that is home to often-marginalised Indigenous populations. The systems we build make daily choices about what information is accessible and what voices are heard, which in turn influence the stories we tell of ourselves and of our land, and decide our history that remains in collective memory and what is forgotten. Let us recognize that these technologies connect us and at the same time replicate and entrench the inequities and divisions from the real world into our virtual spaces and alienate us from the aims of restitution, justice, and reparation for Indigenous and other marginalised peoples. So, let our endeavours as an information access research community be grounded in the recognition of the relationship between technology and the peoples and the lands we occupy; in both celebration of new knowledge and simultaneous acknowledgment of all the Indigenous knowledge that has been undervalued; and let us work towards the goal of a just and equitable future.
Before going fully virtual, SIGIR 2021 was planned to be located in Tiohtià:ke, also known as Montréal, and the island is called Mooniyang in Anishnabemowin. Tiohtià:ke/Montréal is situated on unceded Indigenous lands and traditional territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka and Anishnaabe Nations. We, the organizers and the conference attendees who are based in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal, recognize the Kanien’kehá:ka nation as the custodians of the lands and waters on which we stand. Tiohtià:ke has historically served as a meeting place for many First Nations. Today Tiohtià:ke/Montréal is home to a diverse population of Indigenous and other peoples. We again welcome our diverse group of attendees from across the world to join us virtually and to simultaneously acknowledge their own physical location and share their respective land acknowledgment, using tools like https://native-land.ca/.
(We are grateful for the technological acknowledgement from The Feminist Media Studio and the territorial acknowledgement from Université Concordia which we consulted and heavily derived from for the above acknowledgment.)