New Westminster, B.C. – The City of New Westminster is pleased to announce it has hired an Indigenous Relations Advisor as part of its ongoing reconciliation efforts. Christina Coolidge began her role in March 2022 and brings with her over 10 years of professional experience working in Indigenous relations, as well her personal experience and perspective as someone of Salish, Cree, and Métis ancestry.
Reconciliation, Inclusion, and Engagement was identified as a council priority for the 2018-2022 Council term; the Indigenous Relations Advisor provides assistance in the development and implementation of Indigenous engagement and reconciliation strategies.
“Reconciliation is a priority for the City, but we needed to hire someone with expertise in this area in order to guide us as we move forward with this important work. With her knowledge and skillset, Christina is an invaluable addition to the City,” said Mayor Jonathan Coté.
Coolidge has been focusing on the City’s relationships with local First Nations and the urban Indigenous community, as well as on educating her colleagues in Indigenous history and culture. She is developing long-term strategies for decolonizing the City’s policies, practices, and programs by ensuring Indigenous knowledge and ways of being are incorporated into Western processes.
“My experience working with the City of New Westminster has been really positive so far. The City of New Westminster has already taken real steps toward reconciliation and I genuinely believe that the City, and Mayor and Council, want to participate in their own healing,” said Coolidge. “It is my privilege to use what I know to ensure that our people will always have a place at the table, and help guide the City of New Westminster on its journey toward reconciliation.”
In the coming months, residents can expect to learn more about New Westminster’s true history and the work being done to make reparations for that history. The Indigenous People and Reconciliation section of the City of New Westminster’s website has been newly expanded to better record and share the City’s reconciliation actions and activities: newwestcity.ca/indigenous_reconciliation
Coolidge holds a Master’s Degree in Communications from Simon Fraser University. Previous roles include National Coordinator for the National Urban Indigenous Coalition Council, Indigenous Program Researcher for SFU, and Regional Engagement Coordinator for the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee. Coolidge is from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation on her father’s side and Cree and Scottish Métis from Treaty Six territory on her mother’s. Her European ancestry includes Danish and Jewish.
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City of New Westminster
Photo credit to Nathan Woods