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Reconciliation in southern Alberta sees progress

Click to play video: 'City of Lethbridge sees reconciliation progress'
City of Lethbridge sees reconciliation progress
Back in 2017, the City of Lethbridge introduced its Reconciliation Implementation Plan, which included guiding principles meant to steer those efforts. As Jaclyn Kucey reports, there are local successes to celebrate but the road to reconciliation remains a long one – Sep 30, 2022

In 2016 the City of Lethbridge formed its Reconciliation Lethbridge Advisory Committee. According to co-chair Treena Tallow, it is one of the first of its kind in Canada.

The committee continues working towards fulfilling the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“In the next year, we will be working towards strategic planning and maybe changing some of our direction a little bit,” said Tallow. “I do have faith and hope that we will come together as a community and continue on with our Reconciliation Week, our national Indigenous People’s Week, as well as our Sisters in Spirit vigil.”

Read more: Truth and Reconciliation Week begins in Lethbridge

Echo Nowak, Indigenous relations specialist with the city, said progress was slow when the committee first formed but senses momentum for more initiatives in the next year.

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“We’re in the process of doing an Indigenous women’s needs assessment, so that is part of the MMIWG work plan,” said Nowak. “The placemaking strategy and trying to bring heritage back into our area.”

In 2021, the city signed a memorandum of understanding with the Blood Tribe, agreeing to work together in areas like economic development and health and wellness.

“Real change can occur when all voices are at the table,” said Dr. Terri-Lynn Fox, director of the wellness program with the Blood Tribe Department of Health. She said reflection on the past, present and future is integral to progress towards reconciliation.

“We didn’t get to this point because we wanted to, right? There were these systems that hindered and held First nations people back, were very oppressive and still are,” said Fox.

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With reconciliation’s goal of establishing and maintaining respectful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, everyone involved is eager to continue the work towards healing.

Read more: Creator’s Stone meteorite to be returned to original site in Alberta

“We must, again, dismantle the usual and create new ways of working together,” said Fox

“I can’t really say if there’s an end date, but I really do believe that these reconciliation initiatives do contribute to the wellbeing of our people,” said Tallow.

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