Ktunaxa Nation, RDEK focus on reconciliation
Over 70 elected officials and senior management from Ktunaxa communities, the Ktunaxa Nation Council and the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) gathered on March 10 for a Regional Community-to-Community Forum discuss the topic of reconciliation.
The forum began with a Ktunaxa prayer from ʔaq’am Elder Herman Alpine and was moderated by former ʔaq’am Councillor Joe Pierre. Ktunaxa Nation Chair Kathryn Teneese gave attendees a presentation on the importance and need for reconciliation, particularly in light of the recent release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final report and its 94 ‘Calls to Action.’
“Reconciliation can be difficult to talk about, but we must move beyond any shame or guilt to start the healing process,” said Teneese. “There are a number of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s ‘Calls to Action’ that are only achievable at the regional and municipal level. We wanted to bring together our colleagues from municipalities and regional districts in Ktunaxa Territory start the conversation about how we can make Reconciliation meaningful at the local level.”
The forum, which was jointly hosted by the RDEK and Ktunaxa Nation Council, encouraged attendees to work together to brainstorm ideas that could be achieved locally.
“Our goal was to increase understanding about reconciliation and generate ideas that each of us could take back to our respective councils or boards to hopefully turn those ideas into action,” said RDEK Vice Chair and Electoral Area F Director Wendy Booth. “It was an important day for all who attended.”
A report summarizing the forum and the ideas generated throughout the day will now be prepared and distributed to all attendees.
“I’m very pleased with both the turnout and the ideas generated by this forum,” continued Teneese. “This group identified some actionable goals, now we must make sure we work together achieve these goals. Reconciliation is a path we must all walk together. For some, this forum might have been their first steps on this path, but as long as we all walk together, we will all be much stronger.”
Regional Community-to-Community Forums are about opening lines of communication and building relationships between local governments and First Nations and are funded up to 50% by the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM). The RDEK and Ktunaxa Nation Council would like to thank the UBCM for its support.