The next town council will be determining if additional resources and funding will be made available towards incorporating the principles of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in its 2022 budget deliberations.
It will also discuss whether or not a specific committee/task force will be created.
Councillor Susan Flowers had been pushing for a decision to be reached last night on the creation of a committee that would be a collaboration with the Indigenous community members. She was fearful the work begun will be shelved if too much time passes.
"Not everything costs money, but there's a lot of changes that we can make without resources," she said.
While gaining the support of Councillor Patrick Wilson, who saw it as a workable approach, the motion was voted down, with the rationale it's a decision the new town council should make.
While supporting this motion, Wilson was opposed to creating a new position within town administration.
"I do not support an equity and inclusion position or a similar policy document of the Town of Cochrane or any municipality," said Wilson. "I worry that we're fanning the flames of identity politics here and moving away from our Western liberal society's bedrock principles of individuality."
However, the council, including Wilson, unanimously supported town administration including the cost estimates and information for the 2022 budget debate.
The report presented ideas on how the town can make progress towards instilling the TRC recommendations of 2008.
Chief Administrative Officer Mike Derricott told council what became clear in the process is the town didn't have the appropriate structure or resources to properly respond to the commission's recommendation.
"It is imperative to appreciate that the Town of Cochrane currently does not have the internal capacity, nor the resources to properly respond, and any efforts that proceed without first addressing this issue, maybe more harmful to this important and critical relationship," states the executive summary of the local prepared report.
If additional capacity and internal resources were provided to proceed, the report says the long-term strategy could include actions as:
1. Develop a Truth and Reconciliation strategy for the Town of Cochrane. The strategy would focus on the TRC municipal calls to action as the lens to prioritize action areas and level TRC activities throughout the organizational business units. The strategy would be co-created with Indigenous peoples and the community.
2. Work with Indigenous advisors to assist with the promotion and refinement of the developed toolkit.
3. Leadership engagement in visioning exercises with existing Indigenous advisors to set long-term goals.
4. Acknowledge and engage Treaty 7 leadership and specifically Stoney Nakoda on Treaty 7 Day and raise the Treaty 7 flag annually on Sept. 22 (flag purchased in the developed T&R toolkit).
5. Identify community spaces for local, Indigenous-led innovation and development to promote and actively look for educational and cultural communication opportunities, partner and/or support Indigenous Placemaking to increase cultural presence, and identify space for local, Indigenous lead innovation and development.
6. Land acknowledgment training, development, and implementation.
7. Commitment to support and deliver the existing internal Indigenous education developed from the AUMA grant to the community and voluntary sector. This includes the land acknowledgment training and workshops, Truth & Reconciliation Day (formerly Orange Shirt Day on Sept. 30), and community blanket education exercises.
8. Identify and work to secure grant funding to support the voluntary sector in building capacity to educate their staff and engage in reconciliation and relationship building, working to deliver culturally informed services and programs with and for Indigenous residents.
Over the past few years, the town has been working to establish and build relationships with different Indigenous groups as part of its commitment to Truth and Reconciliation. These efforts have been predominantly facilitated by the town's equity and inclusion committee.