Since 2014, you may have heard speeches that begin by acknowledging Treaty 7 lands. What does this mean and why is it important?
The national Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) prompted the City to respond in light of truth-telling stories from survivors of Canada’s residential schools: a system created to eliminate Indigenous cultures. Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples are working together to understand and rectify past injustices. We are moving forward in the spirit of reconciliation.
In March 2014, The City of Calgary proclaimed a Year of Reconciliation. This proclamation began by recounting the story of Moh’kinsstis (Where Two Rivers Meet), the Blackfoot name for Calgary, a region the Niitsitapi people have called home for millennia. Calgary is also Métis Region 3, on Treaty 7 lands where the Kainai, Piikani, Siksika, Tsuut’ina, and Stoney-Nakoda Nations met with Euro-Canadian settlers to sign the treaty in 1877.
Although the City is taking steps towards becoming more Indigenous-inclusive, we are still contemplating what reconciliation means in an urban setting. One notable initiative was a Calgary Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee’s report that highlights a series of recommendations for all orders of government to move towards reconciliation. The White Goose Flying Report identifies 18 calls to action for the City of Calgary in support of reconciliation.
Jack White Goose Flying was a youth from the Piikani Nation in southern Alberta who attended Calgary’s only residential school, St. Dunstan’s Anglican. He died of tuberculosis while at school in 1899 and was buried on a hill above the school overlooking the Bow River. The school no longer stands, and in 1971, the City moved Jack’s remains to Queen’s Park Cemetery.
I encourage all Calgarians to read the extraordinary White Goose Flying Report, and to celebrate Calgary as a crossroads where Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples come together. I also invite you to celebrate the upcoming Indigenous Awareness Day on 21 June 2018. Join in the city-wide events and learn how we all can move forward in the spirit of reconciliation. Visit www.Calgary.ca for details.
We are all Treaty people.
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