Saskatchewan mayor hopes his community follows him on path to reconciliation - APTN NewsAPTN News

Saskatchewan mayor hopes his community follows him on path to reconciliation

Larissa Burnouf
APTN National News
The mayor of Elbow, Saskatchewan has agreed to help in the elimination of racism faced by First Nations people in his community by ensuring that all staff and elected officials be educated on the history of Treaties, residential schools and the treaty and inherent rights of first nations people.

Rob Hundeby said it’s time to acknowledge that racism is alive and well in Saskatchewan.

“I’ve actually had people approach me and say part of the reason they look at investing in Elbow or building a home in Elbow, is because there is no reserve that’s close by,” he said. That’s wrong. Racism is still a part of Saskatchewan.”

Hundeby said at a recent Saskatchewan urban municipalities (SUMA) convention, FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron was welcomed for the first time to address the communities.

He said he was touched by Cameron’s speech and it opened his eyes to the racist attitudes still being in Saskatchewan.

“There’s SUMA, which you’re dealing with urban communities, and there’s SARM, which you’re dealing with rural communities,” he said. “And the Indigenous population doesn’t really have a fit anywhere in there and I think partially due to racism.”

The mayor is now setting an example and apologizing for any racist attitudes he’s had towards aboriginal people, hoping it starts to build bridges towards reconciliation.

“I apologize to you Chief Cameron and the FSIN for any racist thoughts, comments or actions that I’ve had during my life and I hope you accept my apology.”

Cameron, who heads up the FSIN, shook the mayors hand and accepted the apology.

Cameron said it’s a starting point that will hopefully welcome other urban and rural municipalities in the province to come to the table and begin to work together on addressing racism. And that ending racism and building a bond between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities in Saskatchewan is something we must do now, for future generations.

“None of us are going anywhere but our children and grandchildren are going to live here,” said Cameron. “What kind of legacy and foundation do we want to leave behind for our children? {That} legacy is built on love, kindness, and respect. Acceptance of each and every one of us, for who we are, what we are, where we live, how we walk, how we talk. Acceptance and forgiveness.”

Hundeby said while the resolution to sign the MOU was passed unanimously by village council, the community of Elbow has not be consulted.

He said he hopes his constituents are on board.

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