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Regional Council takes another step to understand lived histories and shared realities of Indigenous Peoples in Niagara

Last night, Regional Council took another step to meet its responsibilities outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report by attending an introductory training session on the lived histories and shared realities of Indigenous Peoples in Niagara.
 
The training session was developed and delivered by Dr. Robyn Bourgeois, Acting Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement and Associate Professor in the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies at Brock University.
 
During the session, attendees were introduced to core topics and themes important to understanding Indigenous worldviews, the legacies of colonialism and anti-Indigenous racism, and key considerations to create culturally safe programs and services. The session is viewed as an important, initial step in addressing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #57, to provide education to public servants on the history of Indigenous peoples, and moving towards a shared journey of reconciliation.
 
Municipal governments are responsible to serve, consult and engage with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities in diverse ways, such as facilitating economic growth, protecting cultural and heritage resources and promoting community well-being. Representatives from many of Niagara’s local municipal councils were also in attendance for the training session.
 
Over the past two years, Niagara Region has participated in a number of activities to better serve these communities: 
  • In July 2020, a Declaration of Mutual Commitment and Friendship was signed by Regional Council and the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre.
  • In June 2021, Regional Chair Jim Bradley met with Chief Stacey LaForme of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.
  • In August 2021, through consultation with the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Council, and Niagara Indigenous Community Executives (NICE), an updated land acknowledgement was developed and adopted by Regional Council.
  • In September 2021, CAO Ron Tripp mandated a course for all Regional staff based on the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre’s Indigenous Perspectives Docuseries, as of March 31, 2021, 3117 staff had completed the training.
  • In October 2021, a Joint Roundtable, comprised of NICE, Niagara Region’s corporate leadership team, and Niagara Regional Police Services’ senior leadership team, was formed to respond to the findings of local Indigenous engagement reports, the TRC Calls to Action and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Final Inquiry’s Calls for Justice.

The Joint Roundtable and Niagara Region staff are developing a Niagara Indigenous Action Plan that will guide collaborative work at the Region and in the community over the next five years.

Quotes

"On behalf of Regional Council, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Dr. Bourgeois for sharing her expertise, as well as her personal and familial experiences with members last night. Regional Council is committed to strengthening our relationships with Indigenous communities, and have an in-depth education about the current situation is crucial as we work to establish, and maintain, mutually respectful relationships."
~ Regional Chair Jim Bradley

Media Inquiries

Janine Tessmer (media only)
Niagara Region
905-980-6000 ext. 3290
janine.tessmer@niagararegion.ca

Cassandra Ogunniyi
Manager, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Indigenous Relations

cassandra.ogunniyi@niagararegion.ca


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