Toronto council unanimously supports Indigenous office

News Dec 07, 2017 by Samantha Beattie City Centre Mirror

For the first time, members of the Indigenous community performed a smudging ceremony and drum circle at council Wednesday, to “cleanse minds of negative energy.

“And to find clarity and strength and to speak the truth,” said Tasunke Sugar, a member of Cree First Nations, to the chamber.

The ritual was followed by another first — council unanimously voted in favour of the city establishing a permanent Indigenous Affairs Office, which the Indigenous community has been requesting for more than 20 years, said city staff.

“This is a huge step in the right direction and I am honoured to be a part of this and to witness history,” Sugar said after participating in the drum circle.

For the office to become a reality, however, council has to approve it in its 2018 budget. Currently unfunded, the office would require four staff and one external consultant, costing $520,000 a year, said a staff report.

The office is needed to strengthen the relationship between the city and Indigenous communities, develop a reconciliation strategy for the city, and work with other departments to incorporate Indigenous views into plans and policy-making, according to the Aboriginal affairs committee that endorsed the proposal in November.

Across its divisions and agencies, the city currently has 22 staff providing services and programs to the Indigenous community, said the report. That’s in a city with more than 46,000 Indigenous residents, according to the 2016 census.

Councillor John Campbell said he is “disappointed with the lack of breadth in the report” and that it “explained little if anything.”

Before he voted in favour of establishing the office, he said, “I have great difficulty supporting the addition of five staff. I wouldn’t have a problem reassigning staff to get this underway.”

City staff said a standalone office with dedicated employees to fulfill the city’s pledge to honour eight “calls to action” from among 94 in the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Report.

“Frankly, it’s not so much about the very specific outcomes because this is a relatively small office,” said Peter Wallace, city manager who will oversee it. “It’s more about ensuring that we are true to the reconciliation principles and we use this office to embed those principles into broader activities of city staff.”

– Toronto Star

Toronto council unanimously supports Indigenous office

Council voted on Wednesday to create an Indigenous Affairs Office, which will be officially established if funding is approved in the 2018 budget

News Dec 07, 2017 by Samantha Beattie City Centre Mirror

For the first time, members of the Indigenous community performed a smudging ceremony and drum circle at council Wednesday, to “cleanse minds of negative energy.

“And to find clarity and strength and to speak the truth,” said Tasunke Sugar, a member of Cree First Nations, to the chamber.

The ritual was followed by another first — council unanimously voted in favour of the city establishing a permanent Indigenous Affairs Office, which the Indigenous community has been requesting for more than 20 years, said city staff.

“This is a huge step in the right direction and I am honoured to be a part of this and to witness history,” Sugar said after participating in the drum circle.

For the office to become a reality, however, council has to approve it in its 2018 budget. Currently unfunded, the office would require four staff and one external consultant, costing $520,000 a year, said a staff report.

The office is needed to strengthen the relationship between the city and Indigenous communities, develop a reconciliation strategy for the city, and work with other departments to incorporate Indigenous views into plans and policy-making, according to the Aboriginal affairs committee that endorsed the proposal in November.

Across its divisions and agencies, the city currently has 22 staff providing services and programs to the Indigenous community, said the report. That’s in a city with more than 46,000 Indigenous residents, according to the 2016 census.

Councillor John Campbell said he is “disappointed with the lack of breadth in the report” and that it “explained little if anything.”

Before he voted in favour of establishing the office, he said, “I have great difficulty supporting the addition of five staff. I wouldn’t have a problem reassigning staff to get this underway.”

City staff said a standalone office with dedicated employees to fulfill the city’s pledge to honour eight “calls to action” from among 94 in the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Report.

“Frankly, it’s not so much about the very specific outcomes because this is a relatively small office,” said Peter Wallace, city manager who will oversee it. “It’s more about ensuring that we are true to the reconciliation principles and we use this office to embed those principles into broader activities of city staff.”

– Toronto Star

Toronto council unanimously supports Indigenous office

Council voted on Wednesday to create an Indigenous Affairs Office, which will be officially established if funding is approved in the 2018 budget

News Dec 07, 2017 by Samantha Beattie City Centre Mirror

For the first time, members of the Indigenous community performed a smudging ceremony and drum circle at council Wednesday, to “cleanse minds of negative energy.

“And to find clarity and strength and to speak the truth,” said Tasunke Sugar, a member of Cree First Nations, to the chamber.

The ritual was followed by another first — council unanimously voted in favour of the city establishing a permanent Indigenous Affairs Office, which the Indigenous community has been requesting for more than 20 years, said city staff.

“This is a huge step in the right direction and I am honoured to be a part of this and to witness history,” Sugar said after participating in the drum circle.

For the office to become a reality, however, council has to approve it in its 2018 budget. Currently unfunded, the office would require four staff and one external consultant, costing $520,000 a year, said a staff report.

The office is needed to strengthen the relationship between the city and Indigenous communities, develop a reconciliation strategy for the city, and work with other departments to incorporate Indigenous views into plans and policy-making, according to the Aboriginal affairs committee that endorsed the proposal in November.

Across its divisions and agencies, the city currently has 22 staff providing services and programs to the Indigenous community, said the report. That’s in a city with more than 46,000 Indigenous residents, according to the 2016 census.

Councillor John Campbell said he is “disappointed with the lack of breadth in the report” and that it “explained little if anything.”

Before he voted in favour of establishing the office, he said, “I have great difficulty supporting the addition of five staff. I wouldn’t have a problem reassigning staff to get this underway.”

City staff said a standalone office with dedicated employees to fulfill the city’s pledge to honour eight “calls to action” from among 94 in the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Report.

“Frankly, it’s not so much about the very specific outcomes because this is a relatively small office,” said Peter Wallace, city manager who will oversee it. “It’s more about ensuring that we are true to the reconciliation principles and we use this office to embed those principles into broader activities of city staff.”

– Toronto Star