Ten years ago, the City of Regina signed an agreement it would work to strengthen its relationship with the indigenous people who live in the city.
On Wednesday, the city renewed that agreement by signing a Protocol of Recognition, Partnership and Respect.
“We can start to influence issues of mutual interest, mutual impact, mutual concern,” said File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council Chief Edmund Bellegarde. “We can start to influence public policy as it has an effect on our people.”
Bellegarde said indigenous people face many challenges living in urban areas across the country such as access to primary healthcare, the public education and access to quality and affordable housing.
“Indigenous people do not have the same level of quality of life as the non-indigenous citizens they live amongst,” Bellegarde said.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada set out a Call to Action for governments of all levels in Canada.
Regina Mayor Michael Fougere said they were renewing the agreement as a response to the findings of the commission.
“We worked on several agreements and we thought ‘well we should also look at the protocol agreement and make sure we update that as well,’” Fougere said.
Two committees were also created with the signing of the agreement: a Governance Committee comprised of elected officials and a Technical Committee with city and Regina Treaty Status Indian Services Inc. employees.
Fougere said Regina has one of the largest proportional populations of indigenous people.
“We ought to, and must, reconcile what’s been happening with our indigenous community for so many years.”
Fougere said next is for the committees to meet and ensure talks continue.