By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
The Town of Coalhurst has began work to customize their Land Acknowledgement Statement.
During their regular April 18 meeting, Coalhurst Mayor Lyndsay Montina requested they consult an Indigenous Elder to develop a Land Acknowledgement Statement that will be used by the Town of Coalhurst.
A Land Acknowledgement Statement is a formal declaration that an event is taking place on land that was originally inhabited by Indigenous peoples, and aims to raise awareness about Indigenous histories, perspectives, and experiences that are often suppressed or forgotten. The acknowledgements are given usually at the start of organized events, celebrations, activities or published in printed materials, as a way to show respect to the original people of the land where it is taking place.
Coalhurst council meetings start with a Land Acknowledgement Statement. However, by consulting an Elder, Montina says they can create an acknowledgement that is more personalized to their community.
“We have just kind of adopted one that is a little more generic, but I thought it will be really great for us to consider working with a local Elder to make something that is more ours, for our community,” said Montina.
Montina noted that council had previously talked about their commitment to implementing the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. She said this would help “strengthen our relationships with Indigenous People”.
Coun. Heather Caldwell said she appreciated Montina bringing this forward, as council has discussed in the past about consulting with local Elders to learn more about the history of the area.
“I would love to see us start the process with the land acknowledgement, and perhaps we can continue the discussion or dialogue with them,” said Caldwell.
Coun. Deborah Florence voiced support for the idea, and she is looking “forward to seeing what comes out of it”.
Council passed a motion to direct the CAO to engage an Indigenous Elder to develop a Land Acknowledgement Statement that will be used by the Town of Coalhurst.