Indigenous Relations Committee

In October of 2022, Council adopted a Framework Policy on Reconciliation, intended to serve as an initial basis for a future action plan to be developed with recommendations from a committee comprised of indigenous community representatives.  In February of 2023, Council directed staff to conduct outreach to indigenous leaders in the community to generate input and feedback on what the City should seek to accomplish, how we can be a better supporter of Ts’msyen indigenous culture and identity, and indigenous people in general, and what opportunities there are to ensure services are culturally safe and inclusive. 

Reconciliation is a critical, complex, and continuous process, and is the responsibility of individuals and institutions in Canada, including the City of Prince Rupert. Reconciliation involves recognizing and being accountable to the intergenerational impacts of colonization, attempts at assimilation, and cultural genocide facing Indigenous communities and Peoples and committing to taking a role and assuming responsibility to work towards a better future. There is a complex and broad-base of initiatives that can be considered under the umbrella of reconciliation. Acknowledging this, the City is beginning work on establishing a process so that the community can guide us in how to move forward in a good way.  At the same time, we continue to work with neighbouring indigenous governments and community based initiatives do not replace processes and relationship protocols already in place. 

In the Spring-Summer of 2023, City staff, our partners at Kxeen Community Services Society (formerly Prince Rupert Aboriginal Community Services Society, PRACCS) and Council representatives met with community members to gain better understanding from the community at-large about how best to develop a Committee to guide reconciliation work for Prince Rupert. What should we focus on? What are some areas that they care most about? We had four total roundtable sessions with participation ranging from 2 people up to 12. Invitations were sent to community members known to be culturally active from across different sectors, with folks encouraged to extend the invitation to others who may be interested or suggest additional attendees.

Roughly 20 attendees came to individual and group meetings, which were facilitated by staff and attended by Council representatives, where available. Throughout the sessions and informal conversations with community members, a number of themes emerged that are further expanded on in the attached Reconciliation Roundtable Summary Report.

Key themes included:

  • the need for services to feel comfortable and familiar;
  • support for local celebration of indigenous culture and for the City to be an ally and supporter;
  • relationship building as critical to work with indigenous peoples;
  • and, equity as a guiding principle to address the continued impacts of colonialism in Canada

Learn More About Feedback Received in our Sessions

Indigenous Relations Committee

*Please note this community-based committee is not intended to replace processes and relationship protocols in place with neighbouring Ts'msyen governments that ensure their rights are respected and our responsibilities to them are upheld. 

The City’s aim continues to be to operate by the key Truth and Reconciliation Commission principle that, ‘the preservation, revitalization, and strengthening of Indigenous languages  and cultures are best managed by Indigenous people and communities’.  Taking into account the input received from participants as a starting point, the proposed draft Terms of Reference for Council consideration are presented below and also included in the Summary Report in the attachment.

Committee Membership

The committee is proposed to be comprised of 7 people total. Four of the 7 positions are proposed to be filled by representatives from local indigenous service agencies, if capacity is available, with those spaces being opened to the broader community if organizations are unable to provide members. City Council will be responsible for appointing to the committee, with the following criteria for selection:

  • Ts’msyen representation (note that this does not prevent people from other nations from applying)
  • Cultural/traditional knowledge
  • Interest and connection to community
  • Youth/elder representation

Each participant will be provided a $50 stipend per meeting, which will occur monthly. This stipend, though not standard for City committees, has been proposed based on the identification that this particular work requires both emotional and cultural labour, and that consideration of this labour should be valued. The cost of stipends for participation is covered through a grant from UBCM, which will also cover committee activities like participation in a community event and a small-scale community project to be determined by the committee.

Purpose of the Committee:

Key objectives for the Committee will be as follows—noting that these may be amended by the Committee once established.

  • To identify barriers and opportunities to improve City services for indigenous residents and make relevant policy recommendations to City Council;
  • To improve the City’s understanding of local indigenous priorities and issues;
  • To collaborate with the City on a project that celebrates indigenous culture and identity to be determined by the Committee;

Meetings

Meetings will be held monthly at City Hall on a day/time agreed upon by the majority of the Committee members

Quorum shall be a majority of the Committee’s voting members. If a quorum is not present within 30 minutes following the time at which the meeting was to commence, the recording secretary shall record the names of the members present at the meeting, and the meeting shall stand adjourned.

Reporting

The Committee will report to Prince Rupert City Council, and the Board of the Prince Rupert Aboriginal Community Services Society. All Reports and recommendations will be forwarded to participating organizations, with specific requests or recommendations relevant to each being forwarded to the appropriate Board or Council meetings.

City staff are responsible for taking meeting minutes. Draft minutes will be approved by the Committee at the next meeting and forwarded to Councils and Boards for information.

Recommendations from the Committee to Councils or Boards must be adopted by a Committee resolution prior to presentation to Councils or Boards.