Indigenous framework very important for city's future, says mayor

·2 min read

The City of Timmins has been making a “good movement” in engaging Indigenous communities in the city and around the Timmins area, according to CAO Dave Landers.

At the Timmins council meeting Tuesday, the council Indigenous Engagement Framework was approved.

The draft framework was approved in 2019.

At the Indigenous Advisory Committee (IAC) meeting in March, Landers asked committee members for input on the framework. At the meeting, he said the framework should be a living document that will be reviewed on an annual basis.

The framework has three themes: addressing humanitarian needs, delivering on the calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and re-engaging economic alliances.

Because of the pandemic, some in-person meetings and planned activities like the Mushkegowuk Cup were disrupted, Landers said.

Some of the city's progress activities mentioned in the report include hosting evacuees from Fort Hope, participating in the mural project, working with community partners on providing shelter services and renewing the Relationship Agreement between the city and Mushkegowuk Council.

Landers said the Timmins museum has shown leadership on reconciliation by supporting Indigenous artists and artisans, presenting a permanent exhibition that includes a comprehensive view of Indigenous life in the Timmins area and hosting various workshops and educational opportunities. In addition, the museum is working on transferring over 11,000 artifacts from an archaeological dig at Yellow Falls.

The IAC is also looking at taking cultural sensitivity training. The goal is to have committee members complete the training and if they like it, they will recommend the training for city employees.

Timmins Mayor George Pirie commended Landers for the thorough report and said it’s a very important document for the city's future.

“We very seldom talk about the cost of this pandemic in relation to momentum on platforms and policies the city was involved with, that were delayed by 15 months. We’ve started off with a huge degree of momentum developing relationships, renewing relationships,” Pirie said, adding they started when Tom Laughren was in the mayor's chair.

Pirie said he hopes the pandemic soon and the city "will be full-throttle and working through this Indigenous engagement framework.”

Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com