From North Grenville Municipal Council to Federal Government
In a public meeting on June 15, Councillor Kristin Strackerjan recommended that council and staff work to develop, “the appropriate wording of an Indigenous land acknowledgement.” Such an acknowledgment is a necessary step toward Truth and Reconciliation. Councillor Strackerjan highlighted that, “relevant and appropriate Indigenous and related organizations” will be consulted, and that relationship building and dialogue with Indigenous members of the North Grenville community will be prioritized.
Though Councillor Strackerjan noted that a Land Acknowledgement is, “long overdue”, she also emphasized that a “thoughtful way forward” will take some time. She said, “The intent behind this… effort [is] to make sure that it is done in a deliberate and thoughtful manner. So the consideration of conversations with Indigenous members of our community is very important…. It will take some time to address this appropriately.” Chief Administrative Officer Gary Dyke confirmed that staff is unlikely to report back to council before fall.
The Federal Government also made some steps toward Truth and Reconciliation last week. On June 14, it was announced that the Citizenship Oath is set to include a commitment to honouring Treaties with Indigenous Peoples. Until now, the Citizenship Oath has included no mention of Indigenous peoples. Though the bill supporting this change was passed, it is still awaiting “royal assent” to become law.
It was also announced that “Discovering Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship”, a document made to help newcomers learn what they need to know for their citizenship test, is undergoing revisions. Last updated in 2012, the current document lacks adequate information about the Indigenous peoples in Canada through history and in the present day. The document is being revised to include recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Not the least of these is an acknowledgement of residential schools.