Red Deer City council voted unanimously in the formalization of a governance to governance relationship with the Urban Aboriginal Voices Society (UAVS), by signing a protocol agreement on Wednesday.
The protocol agreement states the partnership between governments, where Aboriginal communities, private, and not-for profit sectors support projects that recognize and remove barriers for urban Aboriginal people.
“My heart is filled with joy,” said Elder Lynn Jonasson who is the president of the UAVS. “It’s been a wonderful journey, with all of our community members working so hard to make this day possible.
“The protocol is really going to make our community a lot stronger, and bring a sense of peace, belonging and identity that our people are looking for.”
In order for the UAVS committee and council members to establish a relationship, the protocol agreement was read together in front of community members for ceremonial purposes. “This is a unique day, a historic day and a groundbreaking agreement,” said Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer.
City Councillor Lynne Mulder said in the closing remarks, “I’m really proud of the progress we have all made in many areas as we strive to make Red Deer the very best that it can be. Signing the protocol is a real highlight, and game changer for our City, and our relationships with the Aboriginal and Indigenous community. We need to remember it’s the beginning, it will be what will guide us as we implement and operationalize the commitment we are both making today.”
Councillor Ken Johnston added, “We often don’t pause and recognize the history we created. Which has caused sorrow and destruction, but some that has created joy and triumph as we have done today.”
Johnston later said the protocol agreement values the unique needs and teachings of Red Deer’s Aboriginal peoples. The agreement shows the commitment, respect, and love for one another, officials said.
Veer said in the closing comments, “It has been a long and winding road that has brought us to today, with many people involved, but it’s a journey that has proven to be worth it.
“Our council is committed to act in the spirit of truth and reconciliation. Today through this protocol agreement it establishes a new relationship, and a new day in our City.”