Fernie City Council has unanimously supported Truth and Reconciliation resolutions within the community, taking a step to acknowledge and honour the Ktunaxa Nation’s legacy in the region.
“We know that reconciliation is about establishing mutually respectful relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and that the Reconciliation Commission of Canada urges us to acknowledge the past and move into a really safe place in the future,” Mayor Ange Qualizza told MyEastKootenayNow.com.
Endorsing the resolutions, the City of Fernie is now including the practice of using the recommended Land Acknowledgement Statement as a standard introduction to all City Council meetings and events. As well, they have directed staff to update the Council Procedural Bylaw to reflect the inclusion of the Land Acknowledgement Statement, and approving a resolution to provide staff with further direction on proposed recommendations to advance the City’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation efforts.
“The next steps for us and our team is that Council and staff will have the opportunity to explore other initiatives related to Calls for Action for consideration through our strategic planning processes, various overviews and budgets so it’s just a really important process to start and I’m really proud of Council and our decision,” said Qualizza.
Qualizza said the City of Fernie will explore further Calls to Action that could be implemented in the community, like the Land Acknowledgement Statement, which will be visible for the public to see on a regular basis.
“We’re starting every meeting with a land acknowledgment, so they’re going to see that, they’re going to see that at community events but there’s going to be internal action as well and those are going to come in a variety of ways.”
The proposed Land Acknowledgement Statement implemented by the City of Fernie reads as follows, “I (we) wish to acknowledge that the land on which we gather is within the Ktunaxa ?amaki?is, the homeland of the Ktunaxa people.”
Other initiatives include a sensitivity training for staff, hosting a community-to-community forum with the Ktunaxa Nation, taking a look at the usage of the Ghostrider logo, and incorporating Ktunaxa language in City signage, public spaces, and community facilities.
Those initiatives will be further explored in the coming weeks and months, but Qualizza believes the City of Fernie is taking the right step to create a stronger relationship with the Ktunaxa Nation and continuing work towards a renewed relationship.