City of Regina
Saskatchewan CA

CC Committee Report
CR17-3

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action

Information

Department:Office of the City ClerkSponsors:
Category:Committee Report

Attachments

  1. Printout

Report Body

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE - JANUARY 18, 2017

 

The Committee adopted a resolution to concur in the recommendation contained in the report.

 

Mayor Michael Fougere, Councillors:  Bob Hawkins (Chairperson), Sharron Bryce, Lori Bresciani, John Findura, Jason Mancinelli, Joel Murray, Mike O’Donnell, Andrew Stevens and Barbara Young were present during consideration of this report by the Executive Committee.

 

 

The Executive Committee, at its meeting held on January 18, 2017, considered the following report from the Administration:

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

1.              That the City Manager provide a progress report on Reconciliation Regina to the July 5, 2017 Executive Committee meeting.

 

2.              That item MN16-2 be removed from the list of outstanding item for the Executive Committee.

 

3.              That this report be forwarded to the January 30, 2017 meeting of City Council.

 

CONCLUSION

 

In March 2016, Mayor Fougere moved a Referral Motion, unanimously supported by Council, that directed City Administration to report back to Executive Committee by December 31, 2016 on potential actions, supported by Indigenous leaders, for which the City of Regina (City) can adopt to support the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action.  This report is a progress report that responds to the Referral Motion.

 

City Administration has taken a three-pronged approach in responding to the Calls to Action, as follows: (1) actions taken by the City of Regina, as an organization; (2) facilitating actions of the community, as a whole, through “Reconciliation Regina”; and (3) public engagement on reconciliation.

 

BACKGROUND

 

The City of Regina, through the leadership of Mayor Fougere, is a participating member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), Big City Mayors’ Caucus (BCMC) Indigenous Partnership and Reconciliation Working Group.  This Working Group, in response to the TRC’s final report, approved the following Motion:

 

That the first order of business for the Working Group be to develop a Terms of Reference to explore, with the aim of developing concrete actions, the recommendations from the TRC that explicitly recognize the role of local government.

 

The final report from the TRC provided 94 Calls to Action to acknowledge and address the historical trauma inflicted against Indigenous people of Canada as a result of the Indian Residential School System.  While all orders of government, and in fact, all Canadians, have a role to play in the reconciliation process, the TRC report includes at least five Calls to Action that directly relate to municipal governments.  These have been identified as follows:

 

43.              We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as the framework for reconciliation.

 

47.              We call upon federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments to repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous peoples and lands, such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius, and to reform those laws, government policies, and litigation strategies that continue to rely on such concepts.

 

57.              We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to provide education to public servants on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law and Aboriginal-Crown relations.  This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.

 

75.              We call upon the federal government to work with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, churches, Aboriginal communities, former residential school students, and current landowners to develop and implement strategies and procedures for the ongoing identification, documentation, maintenance, commemoration and protection of residential school cemeteries or other sites at which residential school children were buried.  This is to include the provision of appropriate memorial ceremonies and commemorative markers to honour the deceased children.

 

77.              We call upon provincial, territorial, municipal, and community archives to work collaboratively with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to identify and collect copies of all records relevant to the history and legacy of the residential school system, and to provide these to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

 

Further to the above five Calls to Action, Mayor Fougere brought forward the Motion (attached)  to Regina City Council earlier in 2016.

 

In the summer of 2016, the Office of the Treaty Commissioner (OTC) contacted City Administration to discuss and gauge the City’s interest in following a process used in Saskatoon, in which the OTC and the City of Saskatoon engaged in an 18 to 24 month process to facilitate community partners in an overall community response to the TRC Calls to Action.

 

What reconciliation means and how to get started on the journey can seem like a daunting task, however, it is one that is necessary, critical and timely. The process must begin with relationship building - which does not occur overnight.  It is also crucial that in the initial phase of development, other community partners have the opportunity to participate in, and contribute to the process that will honour, acknowledge, accept responsibility and participate in actions to address the Calls to Action.  Thus, the City of Regina and the OTC began, and continues, to identify and engage community “champions” in its journey to a collective, collaborative and living process of community reconciliation, or “Reconciliation Regina”.

 

DISCUSSION

 

To begin a fulsome response to the Calls to Action, an inventory of current actions taken by the City is as follows:

 

              Mâmawêyatitân Centre:  The City of Regina, the Regina Public School Board and the Regina Public Library have partnered with government entities and community stakeholders to build the Mâmawêyatitân Centre, which is located in Regina’s North Central neighbourhood.  The Centre will support a new way of community leadership through an integrated approach to program and service delivery.

              This initiative will contribute to the development of a stronger, healthier and more engaged community, which will have a positive impact on the overall neighbourhood.  The Mâmawêyatitân Centre is consistent with the policy direction of the Cultural Plan and the OCP, Design Regina, to create complete neighbourhoods.

 

              City of Regina - File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council (FHQTC) (through Regina Treaty Status Indian Services) Protocol of Recognition, Partnership and Respect:  A process is underway to rescind the current protocol and introduce a new Partnership Protocol Declaration.

 

                            The purpose of the Declaration is to strengthen the partnership between the City and FHQTC by introducing regularly scheduled meetings at a governance level (technical) and administrative level.  The intent of the meetings and ongoing dialogue will include:

(1)              Information sharing and listening;

(2)              Discussion of issues and opportunities;

(3)              Celebration of successes;

(4)              Joint initiatives that will further the relationship by honouring each other’s cultures, values, similarities and differences;

(5)              Collaboration on projects that will enhance our community’s social, cultural, spiritual and economic fabric in a holistic and respectful manner;

(6)              Enhance and promote positive perception and attitudes between Indigenous communities and the City of Regina;

(7)              Establish and maintain a lasting legacy of inspiration and optimism that builds trust and paves the way for future generations to treat each other with respect, recognizing and accepting each other’s strengths and contributions to the community with a goal of improving relations.

 

              As a result of community engagement between RIIS and the City, strategies and procedures have been developed for the maintenance and protection of the Regina Indian Industrial School (RIIS).  The cemetery was designated as a Municipal Heritage Property on September 26, 2016.  The cemetery designation bylaw provides a detailed description of the maintenance requirement, which is the responsibility of the property owners.

 

              The City will continue to work with the RIIS Commemorative Association to ensure the heritage value of the RIIS cemetery remains.  This can be achieved by enforcing its maintenance, by supporting the Association on funding applications for commemorative and educational initiatives, and in assisting with the Provincial Heritage Property designation.

 

              The primary mandate and objective of the RIIS Commemorative Association is to protect and commemorate the RIIS cemetery.  The Association was formed by concerned community members, including chiefs and elders, who participated in the initial development of the mandate.  The City assisted the Association in the process of applying for designation of the RIIS cemetery.  The City’s support in this application by third-party is different from the way that designation applications are usually made.

 

              The City’s Trunk Relief Initiative involved invasive inspection of the area around the RIIS cemetery.  The City and Stantec consulted Noel Starblanket, Life Speaker, for guidance to ensure Aboriginal protocols were followed.

 

              Through various policies and plans, the Regina Cultural Plan calls for a range of actions supporting intercultural dialogue, and also strengthening the cultural presence of Indigenous people in Regina.  A detailed implementation plan is currently under development.

 

              Through the Community Investment Grants Program, the City provides funding to social and cultural organizations for a wide range of programs and services that address many of the issues and responses to the Calls to Action.

 

              Through the Community Services Diversity Programming Committee, strengthen partnership with Indigenous organizations and create programs that reflect Indigenous traditions or interests.

 

              Establishment of a Corporate Diversity and Inclusion Committee that assists the corporation in working towards becoming culturally representative of our community; supports all employees; and, ensures Diversity and Inclusion training is made available.

 

              Encourage and support employees who participate in the Aboriginal City Employees (ACE) and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee to assist the corporation with inclusion and retention.

 

              Participation in “Orange Shirt Day”: A nation-wide initiative, the City was pleased to respond to Orange Shirt Day by encouraging all employees (Council, Executive Leadership Team and corporate wide) to wear an “orange shirt” on Friday, September 30th, to create an awareness of the harm created by the residential school system.

 

              A news release was also distributed, along with the use of social media, to generate awareness and education on the purpose of the activity.  The result was that this initiative was one of the City’s top three Facebook posts, receiving 7,000 hits.

 

              “Prosperity Through Partnerships” Conference: The City was a proud partner of the series of three conferences occurring at the end of 2015 and early 2016.  The next series, which the City is again participating in and sponsoring, is set to occur at the end of 2016 and early in 2017.  These conferences provide information sharing opportunities for collaboration, awareness and education regarding business opportunities, land planning and management, information on municipal servicing agreements and overview and implementation of federal and provincial legislation.  The conferences have been attended by all levels of government, various First Nations bands and businesses, and others.

 

              In October 2016, the City Manager’s Office participated in the Wichitowin Conference in Saskatoon.  The focus of this conference was on ways in which community organizations can participate in reconciliation.

 

              Adoption of new Anti-Bullying and Respectful Customer Conduct Guidelines to improve conflict resolution and promote anti-racism.

 

              Support and encourage employee and management participation and provide funding for National Aboriginal Day.

 

              On December 16, 2016, the City Manager’s Office and Community Services Department, in partnership with the University of Regina’s Office of Indigenization, hosted an unprecedented gathering of forty First Nation and Métis Elders and Knowledge Keepers at the Albert Scott Community Centre.  Although the City of Regina has engaged in limited consultations with Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers on policy and project development (i.e. Official Community Plan, Cultural Plan, Mâmawêyatitân Centre), the purpose of this engagement was to hear directly from the Elders and Knowledge Keepers about the importance of establishing ongoing and lasting relationship building, community engagement, and their future role in providing input into corporate and community initiatives.

 

              The City’s Comprehensive Housing Strategy (CHS) and Official Community Plan (OCP) include policies to guide relationships with First Nations, Métis and Inuit groups as follows:

 

                            CHS Strategy 21:  Add a policy to the OCP to consult and work with Aboriginal groups to develop Affordable Housing.

 

                            OCP Policy 13.21: Directs the City to collaborate with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and other levels of government to identify opportunities to support Aboriginal initiatives within the city.

 

              With regards to housing, the current practice is to work with Aboriginal groups, and to consult stakeholders and partners through ongoing meetings and conversations to understand the housing needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis groups.  This has been achieved in the following ways:

 

                            First Nations and Métis housing providers are recipients of housing incentives for the development of affordable housing.  Since the approval of the City’s Housing Strategy in 2013, Aboriginal organizations have accessed City initiatives for the development of 64 new, affordable rental units that are complete or underway.

 

                            The Mayor’s Housing Commission, created in 2013, includes representation from a local Aboriginal housing organization, Namerind Housing.

 

                            Aboriginal groups were consulted during consultations for review of the City’s Housing Incentives Policy in 2015.

 

                            Aboriginal organizations were in attendance and represented by speakers at the 2013 and 2014 Mayor’s Housing Summits.

 

The list of initiatives above are important in supporting the reconciliation process.  Further initiatives, strategies, policies and programs will be initiated, analyzed, reviewed and implemented as we create further awareness both internally and externally of the Calls to Action.

 

“Reconciliation Regina”:

 

The work underway through the partnership between the City and the OTC involves two strategies: (1) Convene Diverse and Influential Leaders (Champions) Interested in Change; and (2) Public Engagement on Reconciliation.

 

(1)              Convene diverse and influential leaders interested in change:

 

First and foremost, the City and OTC involved Knowledge Keepers in the community process.  Also integral to the process will be the involvement of survivors of the

Residential School system, as their voices need to be heard and their experiences recognized and understood in this living process.

 

Further steps in identifying community “champions” to arrive at a community response to reconciliation have thus far included involvement and awareness through information sharing with the following organizations:

 

Office of the Treaty Commissioner;

Regina Police Service;

Regina Treaty Status Indian Services, Inc.

Government of Saskatchewan;

RIIS Commemorative Association;

Regina Public School Board;

Regina Catholic School Board;

Regina Public Library;

United Way;

Chili for Children;

North Central Community Association;

Regina Education and Action on Child Hunger;

Saskatchewan Roughrider Football Club;

Buffalo People’s Arts Institute;

Circle Project;

Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region;

Scott Infant/Toddler Care Centre;

Mâmawêyatitân Centre.

 

In addition, other individuals, First Nations bands, Métis community members, and leadership and community organizations will be included and invited to contribute to the community response.

 

It should also be noted that the organizations already contacted and involved have done, and continue to create significant, thoughtful and meaningful initiatives, programs and policies that directly address the spirit and intent of the Calls to Action in a respectful and holistic manner.

 

To truly embark upon a meaningful process to honour, acknowledge and accept responsibility for, to own, and participate in, redressing the harm done from residential schools, is a process that cannot conclude in a short timeframe.  As it now stands, there is no definitive roadmap or process to follow on the path forward.  This is, in fact, uncharted territory. However, the City, using the Saskatoon approach as a model to consider, in collaboration with the community, feels the right steps are being taken that will result in the conclusion of a “Made in Regina” living process that will redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.

 

City Administration will provide further updates in the process as the journey continues.

 

(2)              Public Engagement on Reconciliation:

 

The purpose of this strategy is not to focus on what the City of Regina is doing as an individual organization and receive buy-in from the community and the public, but to take what the community, as a whole, is doing, and gather further momentum and input from the public.

 

This step of the strategy will occur in Q4 of 2017, and will involve community discussion and dialogue in terms of the following:

              agreement on the need for a community response;

              process and vision for a broader community consultation;

              ensuring all interested individuals and organizations have the opportunity to be heard and involved;

              decision on how best to use the feedback, and how it evolves into the community’s overall response;

              ensuring our collective response is meaningful, that we are making a difference and contributing to the reconciliation process;

              discussion on the legacy of the community response;

              ensuring this is a living and continuing process, and who takes ownership on its continuance.

 

As noted, upon further consultation, an update on this communication strategy will be provided to Council mid-2017.

 

Next Steps (Short-term):

 

In Q1 of 2017, Administration will continue to identify, create awareness, and seek the involvement of further community “champions” to unify the community voice and response to the Calls to Action.

 

Also in Q1, for the purpose of creating a forum for all community champions to gather together to share knowledge regarding the TRC Calls to Action, Administration has submitted an application for funding to the Urban Partnership Proposal, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.  The Learning Café Engagement will occur prior to the end of March 2017, and will consist of “champions,” community organizations (i.e. local businesses, Chamber of Commerce, etc.) elected representatives and individuals, youth representatives, and others, to collaborate, share knowledge and discuss initiatives to respond to the TRC’s Calls to Action.

 

The Learning Café Engagement Session is proposed as a one day session, with approximately 150 guests from 10 to 15 organizations.  The Session will offer three to five panel speakers, one keynote speaker, and approximately 22 Elders and/or Knowledge Keepers.  The Session will focus on four main themes:  (1) employment; (2) education; (3) health and wellbeing; and (4) access to services.

 

The goals of the session include:

              create a relevant and action-oriented event that supports the four themes noted above;

              assist participants in gaining knowledge and skills around community engagement and reconciliation work;

              continue communicating and creating an ongoing network of all participants;

              celebrate social and cultural diversity and inclusion through the event;

              demonstrate the City of Regina’s commitment to reconciliation;

              Share the City’s TRC current initiatives and steps to take for further actions.

 

Another initiative to create awareness of the Regina Reconciliation is through participation at the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), “Prosperity Through Partnerships” Forum.  The City Administration will be presenting on Reconciliation at the March 8 and 9, 2017 Forum, entitled, “The Importance of Partnerships with Urban and Rural Municipalities.”

 

RECOMMENDATION IMPLICATIONS

 

Financial Implications

 

There are no financial implications associated with this report, however, as the reconciliation process evolves, there may be Calls to Action, policies, programs and initiatives that require funding.  Any such initiatives will be submitted as part of the annual budget development process.

 

Environmental Implications

 

None with respect to this report.

 

Policy and/or Strategic Implications

 

All Canadians, levels of government and community stakeholders have a responsibility and role to play in the reconciliation process.  As such, it is integral to the health and wellbeing of the community, province, nation and society, in general, that the City, as an organization, participate in redressing the legacy of residential schools and advancing the process of Canadian reconciliation.

 

Other Implications

 

None with respect to this report.

 

Accessibility Implications

 

None with respect to this report.

 

COMMUNICATIONS

 

Any and all communication activities will be discussed between all parties involved, and a community communications strategy will be developed when appropriate.

 

DELEGATED AUTHORITY

 

This report is within the delegated authority of the Executive Committee.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Jim Nicol, Secretary

Executive Committee