We respectfully acknowledge that we are located on Treaty 6 territory, a traditional gathering place for Indigenous peoples including the Cree, Blackfoot, Métis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, Ojibway, Saulteau, Anishinaabe, Inuit, and many others whose histories, languages, and cultures continue to shape our city.
The discoveries of mass graves on Residential School sites, with more studies underway, has been a tragic reminder of how much work we have to do on truth and reconciliation. The discoveries have confirmed what Indigenous groups already knew about the deadly legacy of Residential Schools. We need to grieve for these children, their families, and their communities. Then, we need to do everything we can to achieve meaningful reconciliation in our city, province, and country.
As Mayor, Michael Oshry will establish an annual Truth and Reconciliation Accountability Week in the City of Edmonton.
- During this week, Indigenous Elders and City leaders would come together and assess the City’s progress on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action that are within municipal control.
- The City would host these annual TRC accountability weeks until we can say, without hesitation, that all of the Calls to Action within municipal control are complete.
- No longer can we just commit to fulfilling the Calls to Action. It is simply not enough anymore. We need real, consistent accountability.
Below is a list of TRC Calls to Action that pertain to municipal governments. The Oshry administration will work with Indigenous leaders to add to this list if needed, ensuring that we fully capture the Calls to Action that we can fulfill. The work we need to do in achieving truth and reconciliation goes beyond the Calls to Action, but they provide a strong foundation.
Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action for Municipalities:
- 40: We call on all levels of government, in collaboration with Aboriginal people, to create adequately funded and accessible Aboriginal-specific victim programs and services with appropriate evaluation mechanisms.
- 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 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.
- 64: We call upon all levels of government that provide public funds to denominational schools to require such schools to provide an education on comparative religious studies, which must include a segment on Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Aboriginal spiritual beliefs and practices developed in collaboration with Aboriginal Elders.
- 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 NCTR.
- 82: We call upon provincial and territorial governments, in collaboration with Survivors and their organizations, and other parties to the Settlement Agreement, to commission and install a publicly accessible, highly visible, Residential Schools Monument in each capital city to honour Survivors and all the children who were lost to their families and communities.
- 87: We call upon all levels of government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, sports halls of fame, and other relevant organizations, to provide public education that tells the national story of Aboriginal athletes in history.
88: We call upon all levels of government to take action to ensure long-term Aboriginal athlete development and growth, and continued support for the North American Indigenous Games, including funding to host the games and for provincial and territorial team preparation and travel.
In addition to the TRC Calls for Action, we need to fulfill the recommendations in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Calls to Justice Report.
- There are 231Calls to Justice in this report, most of which pertain to municipal governments in some way, as well as other orders of government and society at large
- As is written in the report, the “ Calls for Justice aren’t just about institutions, or about governments, although they have foundational obligations to uphold; there is a role for everyone in the short and the long term.” Governments need to take the lead but, ultimately, we all have to do our part.
We are not complete as a nation, until we have achieved meaningful truth and reconciliation. As Mayor, Michael Oshry will do everything in his power to achieve that.
MICHAEL OSHRY QUOTE:
“The time for platitudes has gone and we need now to act practically to reconcile the past and move to the future with our Indigenous partners. The Calls to Action is a roadmap to act, and I will ensure we as a city does just that.”