Morinville town council hopes to hire an Indigenous consultant to help guide its efforts at reconciliation.
Town council voted July 13 to spend up to $60,000 to hire a consultant to run a public engagement process aimed at helping Morinville and Alexander residents address the calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report.
Council called for a comprehensive consultation plan on this subject in June after hundreds of unmarked graves were discovered at a residential school in B.C. Hundreds more have since been found across Canada, prompting a renewed push for Canadians to advance reconciliation efforts with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples.
Michelle Hay, the town’s general manager of administrative services, said administration researched reconciliation efforts by Edmonton, Lethbridge, and Devon, and is committed to furthering the town’s understanding of its past.
While it is still early days for the plan, Hay said the town’s strategy would be based around the nine calls to action highlighted by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, which covered issues such as adequate funding for Indigenous-specific victim programs, anti-racism training for public servants, and the identification and protection of residential school cemeteries.
Town chief administrative officer Stephane Labonne recommended having a consultant with expertise working with Indigenous peoples guide the town’s efforts, as no one on staff had the needed skills.
“While this amount seems high, it’s important to get it right,” said Labonne.
Hay said the town intended to hire an Indigenous consultant to lead this work, which would involve the Métis community and the Alexander First Nation/Town of Morinville joint task force. She did not put a timeline on this process.
“It is a purposeful and incremental process, and we do not want to rush,” Hay said.