City of Kelowna needs to do more to reconcile with First Nations: city manager | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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City of Kelowna needs to do more to reconcile with First Nations: city manager

FILE PHOTO - The tragic discovery of the remains of 215 children near the Kamloops Indian Residential School last month has triggered a call from Kelowna's city manager to do more to educate staff.
June 17, 2021 - 7:00 PM

The tragic discovery of the remains of 215 children near the Kamloops Indian Residential School last month has triggered a call from Kelowna's city manager to do more to educate staff.

“It is acknowledged that current work falls short of what we can and should be doing as a city,” Doug Gilchrist wrote in a report going to council on Monday, June 21.

The City lowered its flags to half-mast for half an hour for each of the children.

“While symbols of remorse are important, staff recognizes the need to continue to follow through with positive and concrete actions,” Gilchrist wrote.

Following the release of the national Truth and Reconciliation report the City conducted workshops in conjunction with Sylix/Okanagan educators attended by 70 city staff members in 2017 and 2018.

The City employs close to 1,000 people.

“The emphasis since the workshops has been on self-study and personal responsibility for learning the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada and the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions’ Calls to Action,” Gilchrist wrote. “However, staff feel there is a need and an opportunity to move the city beyond self-directed learning at the employee level to building broader organizational competency in Indigenous relations and cultural awareness.

“Moving forward, things such as council onboarding programs, staff training, and orientation programs should also include an Indigenous component to ensure the commitment to Truth and Reconciliation is strongly recognized.”

Council is being asked to direct staff to participate in any regional efforts towards reconciliations, increase staff and council training and to report annually on the effectiveness of its efforts.


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