Nov. 4, 2020: The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) welcomes the announcement by the City of Montreal which today unveiled its Reconciliation Strategy with Indigenous peoples. This initiative by the City of Montreal is an appropriate response to the Public Inquiry Commission on relations between Indigenous Peoples and certain public services in Quebec (Viens Commission) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). It reflects the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) endorsed by the City of Montreal in 2017. “The Strategy unveiled today is perfectly in line with the Action Plan on Racism and Discrimination against First Nations that we unveiled last September”. AFNQL Chief Ghislain Picard. The Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke also welcomes the initiative by the City of Montreal.
The “Reconciliation Strategy with Indigenous Peoples” includes commitments to:
- Develop a nation-to-nation relationship by, for example, increasing the participation of Indigenous people in city advisory boards.
- Highlight the memory, history and heritage of Indigenous peoples in public spaces outdoors and indoors, such as at libraries.
- Support the urban Indigenous community by creating social housing and gathering spaces adapted to specific cultural needs.
- Improve Indigenous people’s sense of security by supporting projects that provide free, safe spaces for Indigenous women, increasing services for homeless people, creating a front-line team to respond to calls where police presence is not necessary and recruiting Indigenous people to work as police officers and within the municipal court.
- Support Indigenous cultural development in urban areas by developing and promoting artistic and Indigenous cultural practices.
- Offer employability services adapted to the specific needs of the Indigenous peoples living in Montreal, as well as other measures to support the economic development of the Indigenous community.
Incorporate Indigenous knowledge and practices in projects to protect the environment.
Mayor Valérie Plante said that while the city is committed to the reconciliation process, she acknowledged there’s only so much a city can do when decision-making, including funding commitments, involves the provincial and federal governments.