Indigenous

Halifax regional council shows support for indigenous people by passing statement of reconciliation

The motion urges Halifax to create equal relations with indigenous communities

Halifax Regional Council meeting, NS
Halifax Regional Council meeting, NS   Molly Woodgate

On the same day the federal government announced it would start a national inquiry looking into missing and murdered indigenous women, Halifax regional council unanimously approved a motion to make a statement of reconciliation to aboriginal people.

In doing so, the city says it will “commit ourselves to learning from the lessons of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and taking action to ensure the needs and aspirations of Aboriginal people are fully acknowledged in the great cities we seek to build,” said the motion.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is a mandate to teach Canadians about what transpired in Indian Residential Schools and aims to foster new relationships with indigenous communities.

The city says it will help create equal partnerships with indigenous people and develop a strategy for consulting the indigenous community. Councillor Jennifer Watts said this motion has been long overdue.

“This will be the vote that at the end of my term if my kids ask me, ‘What was the most important decision you made?’ this will be it,” said Watts.

Councillor Waye Mason said the statement makes sure aboriginals are involved and recognized in the community.

“How could we do less than to participate in a process like that?” he said.

The executive director of the Mi’Kmaw Native Friendship Centre Pam Glode-Desrochers was in attendance for the motion and hugged Watts after it was passed. She said the motion was the first piece of a larger puzzle.

“I think it’s going to start the process of having a conversation around where we move forward and how we move forward together,” she said.