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Montréal unveils its Strategy for Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples 2020-2025

4 novembre 2020

Montréal, November 4, 2020 – Mayor Valérie Plante unveiled today, jointly with Indigenous partners, Montréal's Strategy for Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples 2020-2025. 

This first reconciliation strategy is the result of a consultation process led during the past two years by Marie-Ève L. Bordeleau, the city's commissioner of Indigenous relations, and involving some thirty Indigenous organizations working in all areas of society. This consultation process laid the foundation for a major strategy aiming to implement the city's commitments to acknowledge and highlight past and present Indigenous presence in Montréal. The process leading up to the Strategy has brought together Indigenous and non-native partners, as well as Montréal's departments and boroughs. 

“Through this Reconciliation Strategy, we aim to increase the visibility of Montréal's Indigenous heritage. We would like to showcase the men and women who have chosen our city to work, study or raise a family in. We would also like to ensure that all public services offered are culturally safe, and free of systemic racism or discrimination. The implementation of new projects, programs or measure put forth by the city will also take into account the Indigenous component. We are also working on increasing the administrative and political representation of Indigenous persons”, stated Mayor Valérie Plante.  

Since Montréal's commitment, back in 2016, to the process of Canadian  reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, the city has proposed concrete action to recognize and highlight Indigenous nations, namely by hiring a commissioner of Indigenous relations, changing the name of Rue Amherts to Rue Atateken and providing financial support to Indigenous culture projects as well as to projects for the homeless. The adoption of the strategy is a major leap towards rebuilding and strengthening the trust between the city and Indigenous peoples. 

The new strategy is comprised of 7 strategic objectives: 

Strategic objective 1: Develop a government to government relationship within city institutions. The city acknowledges that developing intergovernmental relations with the First Nations is a first step towards establishing equality. It further acknowledges that the Indigenous civil society is a key partner in the thought process, the quest for solutions and the decision-making process pertaining to relevant urban issues.

Strategic objective 2: Improve the visibility of the Indigenous presence in the Montréal. Montréal acknowledges that its colonial history has diluted the presence of an Indigenous identity in our public space, our social landscape and our historical memory. Through this second main objective, the city aims to enhance the Indigenous presence in its urban landscape, and commits to consulting with Indigenous communities when rolling out municipal projects, including archeological digs, as well as their enhancement.   

Strategic objective 3: Support the urban Indigenous community. Montréal's Indigenous community is facing issues related to its very own historic, cultural, identity and socio-economic factors that must be addressed from the perspective of cultural safety. This objective involves measures to support, among other things, the creation of gathering places that meet the community's specific cultural needs.   

Strategic objective 4: Improve the feeling of safety of Indigenous people in Montréal. The city acknowledges the need to support programs developed by Indigenous organizations in order to enhance cultural safety, and it will continue to train its employees in order to ensure that citizen services also meet this need. 

Strategic objective 5: Support Indigenous cultural development in the urban environment.  The city will roll out measures that will contribute to the development of Indigenous cultures and languages, the broadcasting and enhancement of Indigenous arts and culture projects on its territory. 

Strategic objective 6: Support Indigenous cultural development in the urban environment. This objective involves reinsertion and employability services adapted to the specific needs of Montréal's various Indigenous peoples, implementing a recruitment program for Indigenous persons at the city, and promoting Indigenous entrepreneurship in Montréal. 

Strategic objective 7: Promote the protection of natural spaces and environments based on the 7th Generation Principle. Montréal is committed to consulting with Indigenous communities as part of municipal projects affecting the Saint-Lawrence River, and to integrating their knowledge in the protection and enhancement of natural areas.   

“Canadian cities must play a key role on the frontlines of the reconciliation process with Indigenous peoples, since the majority of Indigenous peoples live in Canada's urban areas. Recent events have shown that we still have major steps to take for our Indigenous populations to thrive in a culturally safe environment. Montréal intends to pave the way and to become an ally for Indigenous peoples, serving as a beacon for other major cities to follow suit,” concluded Mayor Valérie Plante.

 The Strategy for Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples 2020-2025 is available here. 

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