(Advocate file photo.)

Red Deer city council seeks more aboriginal consultation

New governance oversight group will be formed

The City of Red Deer is moving further along the journey to reconciliation with Indigenous people by supporting new shared goals and forming a new governance oversight group.

On Monday, council unanimously supported goals that came out of a partnership between the city and the Urban Aboriginal Voices Society. A protocol agreement between them was signed in 2017.

As well, council approved establishing a “governance oversight group” of city council appointees, which would “continue to honour” the working relationship between the city and the Urban Aboriginal Voices Society.

The goals include “intentional inclusion,” an understanding of Indigenous and city priorities, acting on the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s calls to action, and creating and implementing mechanisms to address the needs of aboriginal people.

A cultural shift has occurred and aboriginal people’s history and culture are now better understood and appreciated, said Coun. Vesna Higham, who said she’s pleased the city is taking further steps to integrate these into city and community life.

Higham believes the new oversight group of council appointees will help ensure that aboriginal voices are routinely part of the dialogue and consultation process.

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer said Indigenous people, like all community members, are given opportunities to provide input on various city initiatives.

But the new governance oversight group will present another way of ensuring they are consulted on issues of particular importance to the aboriginal community, she said.

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