Calgary is located on the traditional Treaty 7 territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut'ina, Îyâxe Nakoda Nations & Métis Nation (Region 3). Despite our shared history, much of the colonial violence that the First Peoples of the region experienced is not well understood by non-Indigenous Calgarians. We need to recover the truth to ensure that the policies put forward by The City do not further entrench harm and dispossession against Indigenous Peoples.
To bridge knowledge gaps and bring awareness to our shared history, a Better Budget includes the following policy asks to support the implementation of recommendations from the White Goose Flying Report:
- Enhance public sector staff training on Canada’s true history, intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, anti-racism and Indigenous education.
- Create in-house learning opportunities that demonstrate leadership on Indigenous awareness by developing a curriculum for school children through the Calgary Board of Education’s City Hall School.
- Fund awareness programming about the true history and legacy of residential schools in and surrounding Calgary, investigate St. Dunstan’s school cemetery, and deliver records through collaboration with libraries, museums, archives, and parks.
- Create new immigrant information kits that include a TRC handout that is distributed through immigrant serving agencies.
White Goose Flying Report
Completed in May 2016, the White Goose Flying Report includes Calgary-specific reconciliation milestones in response to the 94 Calls to Action made in the final report of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. While some recommendations have already begun to be implemented, a Better Budget asks for adequate investment and support for ongoing initiatives.
Public Sector Staff Training
Public sector training on Indigenous issues and anti-racism must be continuously updated and the curriculum needs to be enhanced to reflect new learnings and understandings. Meaningful investment in cultural competency and anti-racism requires that the curriculum and information shared engage critically with the existing systems, including municipal government and all city services. Public officials and non-Indigenous Calgarians need to understand the implications of the settler colonial relationship which defines The City.
Funding for Awareness Programming
Non-Indigenous Calgarians must also engage meaningfully in uncovering their shared history with Indigenous Peoples. Embedding teachings about Indigenous leadership, resistance, athletes, and artists is essential to ensuring positive representation. Historical accounts must meaningfully consider the entire history including recognition of St. Dunstan’s Residential School, one of four known residential schools in the Calgary area. Beyond school curriculums, these teachings must be accessible to all Calgarians, and information should be made available through libraries, museums, archives, and parks.
Information Kits for Newcomers
Newcomer information kits that include a Truth and Reconciliation handout should be distributed through immigrant serving agencies. This initiative will help ensure that new Canadians are engaging with the shared history of these lands and that the information they receive is not based solely on colonial perspectives.
These policy asks are based on input that came directly from over 5,000 Calgarians from every corner of the city through our Better Budget Survey and Community Consultations last spring. Vivic Research and Nick Falvo Consulting helped us compile your responses into a report that includes these and other recommendations.