Native community launches consultation process

Community consultation to work on issues facing aboriginals in Red Deer is entering the strategy phase.

Tanya Schur

Community consultation to work on issues facing aboriginals in Red Deer is entering the strategy phase.

A meeting on Sept. 29 at Central Alberta Child and Family Services will bring together people for Common Ground: Aboriginal Relationship Agreement Framework to develop action plans for issues identified in 2008 — cultural awareness and understanding, youth, leadership, wellness, the potential development of a healing centre or aboriginal community centre, working with aboriginal elders, and interagency collaboration.

“Most simply and most importantly, Common Ground initiative for Red Deer is about strengthening our community and creating a process for the community to speak together about issues that are important to us, but also to find ways of working better and nurturing relationships between the aboriginal and non-aboriginal community,” said Tanya Schur, the Common Ground community facilitator in Red Deer.

Common Ground pilot projects are running in Red Deer, Rocky Mountain House, High Prairie, and Slave Lake to develop community-based solutions to promote inclusiveness and sustainable development to improve the lives of aboriginal people and the community at large.

Schur said the aboriginal population, which includes First Nation, Metis and Inuit, is the fastest growing cultural group with more and more migration to Red Deer.

“How do we help integrate them into the community? Is there good communication so people can get services and information they need to be really successful in an urban setting.”

Common Ground will help, she said.

“Having a better understanding, a mobilized community and an active community is always important.”

Common Ground was developed in partnership with Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association and Alberta Urban Municipalities Association.

Major funding for the 2009-10 phase of Common Ground comes from Rural Alberta’s Development Fund and Alberta Aboriginal Relations.

Projects identified by Common Ground will be funded by agencies involved in the consultation process.

Anyone who wants to be part of Common Ground can call Schur at Red Deer Native Friendship Centre at 403-340-0020.

“I think the aboriginal community has a lot to offer and the Common Ground initiative is an opportunity to bring all sorts of people to the table, the municipality, business, and talk about community development.”

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