Kelly Foxcroft-Poirier adds to a poster at the reconciliation forum held in 2018. NEWS FILE PHOTO

City of Port Alberni’s reconciliation report makes 27 recommendations

Some initiatives are straightforward while others will take time, says mayor

MIKE YOUDS

SPECIAL TO THE NEWS

The City of Port Alberni should designate March 27 as a Day of Reconciliation in the Alberni Valley.

That’s one of 27 recommendations from the reconciliation committee struck 18 months ago to explore ways of becoming a more integrated and inclusive community.

READ: Port Alberni holds first reconciliation committee meeting

A final report summarizing the group’s findings — based mostly on a forum held last year — was presented to city council Monday by Alicia Puusepp, city communications manager. Council voted unanimously to look at implementing the recommendations.

Mayor Sharie Minions, who co-chaired the group with Cynthia Dick, Tseshaht chief councillor, described it as by far the most meaningful reconciliation initiative in which she’s been involved.

READ: Port Alberni searches for path to reconciliation

“We spent several days just going through the information collected,” the mayor said of the forum, which attracted 120 participants. “I’m really proud of where we got to. Some (recommendations) are actionable; some will take time to implement.”

A local walk for reconciliation held March 27, 2017 led city council to form the committee later that year with the goal of charting a path toward reconciliation between Tseshaht First Nation, Hupacasath First Nation and the city.

The initiative, setting out practical actions, parallels work done by the National Truth and Reconciliation that culminated in 94 recommendations or “calls for action” in 2015.

Local recommendations cover nine categories, including cityscapes, government relations, education, events, partnerships, languages, urban First Nations and the next generation.

Aside from the day of recognition, the report also recommends:

A new municipal logo incorporating First Nation elements.

Adding Nuu-chah-nulth words and phrases to local place names.

Flying Hupacasath and Tseshaht flags alongside the city’s at City Hall.

A working group to aid relations between First Nation and municipal governments.

Partnerships to improve employment opportunities for First Nations.

Improve access to services for First Nations residents living away from traditional territories.

The full list of recommendations can be found on the city’s website.

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