Beardy's, surrounding communities sign friendship agreement, vow to work together on infrastructure
- EFN Staff | October 24, 2017
Chief Roy Petit of the Beardy’s & Okemasis Cree Nation joined local municipal leaders from the towns of Rosthern, Hague, Hepburn, Duck Lake and the Village of Laird as the first step in a Friendship Agreement signing ceremony. On September 30th, the parties gathered together to discuss a future initiative called First Nations – Municipal Community Infrastructure Partnership Project” (CIPP) through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).
Chief Petit said back in February a meeting was facilitated by the FCM discussing information on the CIPP which is a federally funded program designed to try help First Nations, rural municipalities or towns to work together.
“They came out here and…we sat together with four towns and RMs from this area,” he said. “It was mostly about looking at a solid waste management project and coming together. The initial talks were just getting to know each other learning about each other sharing histories.”
They also discussed the different issues the First Nation and towns faced and found some similarities in terms of the infrastructure area.
“It was a good first meeting…that agreement its not a binding agreement. It’s just saying that we’re going to be working together or we will work together if we ever have an opportunity.”
“I had said it was kind of honoring the intent of what the Treaty 6…to work together with our nation and the other nations or people,” said Chief Petit. “We have to start somewhere at rebuilding that relationship to push reconciliation across Canada it came at opportune time.”
Mayor of Rosthern Dennis Helmuth said the friendship agreement will establish a base line of an agreement as an indicative friendship agreement. “While that's a non-legal binding agreement it does represent a willingness to get together and have conversation together on a very basic level that indicates a willingness to cooperate.”
“It was a wonderful event to have participation from various municipalities and of course from Chief Petit and his family, an elder and a dancer present,” Helmuth said. “It was a wonderful opportunity to sign an agreement…celebrate and have soup and bannock after the event. The skies were blue and the geese were migrating overhead as we held it outdoors. It was a very memorable and encouraging event.”
It isn’t known when the neighbouring communities will get together again to discuss but they all plan to keep working on the issues of solid waste management with hopes of collectively coming up with a better solution.
“I just look forward to working with all these communities and hopefully creating better relationships between ourselves and the people who live around us,” said Chief Petit. “It’s a good step forward in trying to reconcile with our closest neighbors.”