By Councillor Susan Flowers
Cochrane is well-known for its friendliness and good relationships. Town council places great value on relationship building too and recognizes the importance of being neighbourly. One relationship that needs our attention is with our neighbour to the west, the Stoney Nakoda Nation.
This town council identified intergovernmental relationship building as a priority item when we created a priority list for our term on office and more specifically establishing engagement opportunities with First Nations. Since then we have worked to establish better understanding and communication with many levels of the Stoney Nakoda Nation, including chiefs, Elders, residents and administration.
The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission has outlined 94 calls to action that focus on healing and strengthening relationships with Indigenous peoples. The Town of Cochrane and the Cochrane Rotary Club have partnered to create an indigenous learning series. This training includes the history, the challenges, the journey to reconciliation and how we can work together to move forward in the future. Stay tuned for more information as this learning series will be rolled out in the community.
A way we can all participate is at the upcoming celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day which takes place this month. The Town of Cochrane has partnered with other organizations to present this event. Experience dance and musical performances, traditional games, vendors, learnings and an art exhibit. This is a free event that will be held on June 21 at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park from Noon - 4 p.m. For more info: www.grpf.ca/indigenous-day
There are 10 ways Amnesty International suggestions you can jump into action to make a difference and be a genuine ally with Indigenous communities all of which involve self-reflection, education and listening:
- Listen and follow the community.
- Centre the stories around community.
- Know the historical and cultural content.
- Never show up empty handed.
- Always seek consent and permission.
- Be responsible for yourself.
- Know when to step back.
- Saviours not needed. Solidarity is.
- Be mindful of people’s time and energy.
- Do no harm to the community.
To find our more info go to www.amnesty.org.au/campaigns/indigenous-justice/
It is so important that we Cochranites first educate ourselves, lead by example, and increase our awareness and sensitivity to the realities and needs of the Indigenous community. Then and only then we can build solid relationships and plans together.
I hope you all have a wonderful summer.