Celebrating “Stronger Together”
In 2017 Enoch Cree Nation and the City of Edmonton signed a memorandum of understanding to work together on a First Nations-Municipal Community Economic Development Initiative (CEDI).
While other MOU’s have been signed between First Nations and Canadian municipalities, the agreement between Enoch and Edmonton is significant, as Edmonton is the largest municipality in the program.
When we first started meeting, we shared histories, perspectives and aspirations. Our shared history was difficult to hear and to comprehend, as it is rife with stories, unknown in the Edmonton establishment, of exploitation, oppression and cruelty by early Edmontonians towards Enoch’s ancestors.
Such darkness requires long and committed reconciliation work. It was therefore critical we start with an acknowledgement of our shared past.
Then we agreed on some tangible projects to complete together.
There’s a comprehensive list of our work to date on this blog post from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Although we have technically graduated from CEDI, the working group decided to carry on as though we are still in the program.
Our partnership has been profiled on several platforms and our successes over the years have been in the media as well.
I can’t help but be proud of the work everyone has done on the project. It is perhaps the most rewarding initiative of my time as an elected official. I was lucky enough to officially recognize our work in a Council meeting just this week and introduce the following three videos:
- Stronger Together, Part I (Past): As long as the sun shines and the river flows
- Stronger Together, Part II (Present): We are all Treaty people
- Stronger Together, Part III (Future): ᐘᐦᑯᐦᑐᐏᐣ Wahkohtowin
I recall a public event with Councillor Michelle Wilsdon from Enoch Cree Nation. We were to discuss and describe our work and success under the CEDI program.
It was still early in our work and many of our goals were not yet fulfilled. What could I possibly say about success?
But I realized this work is changing me and changing Edmonton. Too many of us grew up under an education deficit, so far as learning our true, shared history with indigenous people.
Those of us from the City of Edmonton evolved. From feeling guilty and awkward at first. To a sense of humility and compassion … to shared experiences, humour and friendship with our Enoch neighbours.
If the essence of the treaty is peace and friendship, then yes, we are succeeding.
Take a look at our community profile on one of these platforms:
By Scott McKeen, City Councillor Ward 6