LETHBRIDGE - For the first time ever at Monday's Lethbridge City Council meeting, Mayor Chris Spearman read a statement acknowledging Blackfoot and Metis territory.
"We are gathered on the lands of the Blackfoot people of the Canadian plains, and pay respect to the Blackfoot people past, present and future, while recognizing and respecting their cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship to the land. The City of Lethbridge is also home to the Metis Nation of Alberta, Region 3."
Spearman says the above statement will be read prior to every future council meeting, adding there was a meeting of the committee that's helping to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that prompted the action.
"We've been looking at things we can do this year. Last year we raised the reconciliation flag and we raised the Blackfoot flag for the first time. And they said, you know, it would be very good if council meetings began with that acknowledgement. It would make them feel respected and included."
Spearman says the community is made up of many indigenous people, and it just seemed like a simple thing to do.
The mayor has made the statement at various events he's attended in the past, and it's a common acknowledgement prior to ceremonies attended by the provincial government as well.
"Probably the most important and the most significant meeting we have is our City Council meeting, where we talk about civic government, and it's overdue."
He adds that council could have waited until Aboriginal week in June, but there wasn't a reason to delay it.
"We'll have other activities in that week where we celebrate our indigenous people, and we'll plan those separately.... but here's a first step that we haven't forgotten about our response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We acknowledge that harm was done, and that we can do better."
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