Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action
New Westminster’s reconciliation efforts are motivated by a responsibility to recognize and to honour the deep original connections to this area by Halkomelem speaking Nations, some of whom lived here along the banks of the Fraser River, and others who passed through by land or water to travel between territories. New Westminster is also the birth place of colonization in British Columbia, as it was the colonial capital. The City acknowledges that its very existence was built upon the destruction of the land and river connections of the original inhabitants, and of their lives and livelihoods. Therefore, it is the City’s responsibility to correct the wrongs of our colonial history. To that end, New Westminster’s relationships with the First Nations of this land and with the urban Indigenous community is an ongoing strategic priority for the City.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) was mandated to provide guidance on achieving reconciliation through truth and healing, both within Indigenous families and between Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous communities and governments. The TRC provides 10 principles of truth and reconciliation and 94 specific calls to action that inform and guide New Westminster’s reconciliation journey.
CALLS TO ACTION
The City identified 15 calls to action we will address through our work as municipal government organization to support our reconciliation efforts. Of these, three themes emerged: health and wellness; Indigenous rights and reconciliation; and community and City education.
city-identified CALLS TO ACTION
Call to action category
|Health and wellness||
Language and Culture
Indigenous rights and reconciliation
|UN Declarations on Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)||#43|
|Doctrine of Discovery||#47|
|National Council for Reconciliation||#55|
|Business and Reconciliation||#92|
|Community and City education||Professional Development||#57|
|Missing Children, Commemoration and Monuments||#75; #76|
|National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR)||#77|
#87; #88; #91
Health and WellnessThe City is committed to supporting the health and wellness of Indigenous Peoples.
Health and wellness encompasses mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health.
The removal of the Judge Begbie statue from the courthouse in 2019 and the naming of the təməsew̓txʷ Aquatics and Community Centre by a Naming Advisory Panel consisting of urban Indigenous representatives are examples of City activities that contribute to Indigenous health and wellness.
Indigenous Rights and ReconciliationThe City of New Westminster recognizes the inherent rights of the First Nations of this land.
The City is committed to establishing and maintaining respectful relationships that acknowledge those inherent rights and that cultivate healthy Indigenous Nations and New Westminster community.
The City has made progress towards these goals through the endorsement of UNDRIP and the reconciliations recommendations presented to Council by New Westminster residents in 2017. In 2020, a New Westminster City staff representative was appointed Chair of the Metro Vancouver Municipal Technical Advisory Committee on Indigenous Relations. In March 2022, the City hired an Indigenous Relations Advisor to assist in the development and implementation of Indigenous Engagement and Reconciliation strategies.
Before reconciliation can be genuinely effective, truth must come first. The City of New Westminster is committed to truth-telling through education of the community and City staff and Council around our shared colonial history and the resulting collective generational trauma that affects the lives of Indigenous people.
The City has engaged in many activities that support community and City education. A reconciliation workshop on the legacies of residential schools and the Indian Act was organized for the community, and City staff are encouraged to attend a Medicine Wheel workshop with the Indigenous Relations Advisor. The New Westminster Public Library in partnership with New Westminster Museum and Archives presented a series of four Indigenous films in 2021 with virtual talkbacks lead by local Indigenous community members. New Westminster Museum and Archives’ featured three exhibitions for 2021-2022 to connect community residents with Indigenous culture, interests, and lived experience: Our Living Languages, The 215 and Reconciling. The City regularly partners with the Spirit of the Children Society on projects and programs, such as National Indigenous Peoples Day, and Truth and Reconciliation Day.