Reconciliation efforts in Timmins
TIMMINS – Timmins City Council approved a draft of its Indigenous Peoples Engagement Framework on November 5.
Officials say it will be the city's first step toward reconciliation with Timmins' Indigenous communities.
The city's Chief Administrative Officer says one part of its plan will involve educating city staff.
"Cultural sensitivity training is a priority in the upcoming months to make sure that city staff have been adequately trained and prepared to respectfully engage the Indigenous population," said Dave Landers, City of Timmins.
Landers says the city consulted with local Indigenous groups to determine what the most pressing issues are.
Officials at the Ojibway and Cree Cultural Centre say the city hasn't historically made significant strides in tackling Indigenous issues.
"There are a lot of Indigenous people here in Timmins that are homeless. Not only that, when we ask for something, it doesn't happen right away or you don't even see it recognized," expressed Angela Ashishkish, Ojibway & Cree Cultural Centre.
Landers feels that city is finally developing a good relationship with local Indigenous communities, saying homelessness is one of the major issues it wants to solve when its plan goes into effect.
"Like every other community, there are challenges. Every other community in Canada is struggling with this. We're trying to put the best foot forward and, as a community, grow with the changing face of the community," he explained.
Landers says the city will continue to be in talks with Nishnawbe Aski Nation on tackling the homelessness issues, and will work with the Mish-Kegowuk council, which represents the region's seven First Nations.