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200 now committed to Reconciliation through Winnipeg’s Indigenous Accord Partnership

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Thirty-nine businesses and organizations have placed their signatures, joining others in the Indigenous Accord Partnership, September 9.

The Accord is a tool for Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities to come together and explore reconciliation, with Thursday’s event the fourth annual signing ceremony. The Accord was unanimously adopted by City Council on March 22, 2017, marking a significant step forward in the City of Winnipeg’s Journey of Reconciliation.

Signing this Accord is a declaration of unity and commitment to the community, said Elder Norman Meade, an Elder at the University of Manitoba and conducted the opening ceremony of this year’s event.

“Not just the general community, but the business community as you will, the corporate sector of the community. To come together and support what we are embarking on here in terms of reconciliation.

According to Elder Meade, reconciliation means a relationship, individuals coming together and supporting each other in their work. He would like to see more children at events like this, as the work and commitments are for their futures.

Lori Abraham is the Indigenous Cultural Director for 1JustCity. This organization supports three drop-in community centres in Winnipeg’s core neighbourhoods: West Broadway, the West End and Osborne Village.

“I like to hear the amount calls to action they have committed too,” said Abraham. “That is impressive on behalf of all of the organizations here. In a year we can hear those reports and what they’ve contributed to over that year, and reflect on what that year looked like. To me, that’s excited, and I can’t wait to read about that. “

Abraham said the ceremony was respectful, and seeing 39 more signatures added is terrific and much needed.

Over a hundred guests were in attendance to witness and welcome the new Accord partner. Of those in attendance was Grace Schedler from God Lake Narrows First Nation and is an Indigenous ambassador at Circles for Reconciliation (CFR). This was Schedler’s first year attending the signing ceremony and the first time learning about the Accord.

“They had said it took seven [generations] to arrive at this point, and Murray Sinclair has said it could take seven [generations] to come to reconciliation. I’m hoping what [Kimberley Puhach] said that it would take less than that. Canada is a diverse country, and we have many different people and newcomers coming all the time. When newcomers come to Canada, it’s important that they understand what happened to the Indigenous people of this country.”

Kimberley Puhach, Chair of the Mayor’s Indigenous Advisory Circle, noted it is exciting to see 200 Accord partners dedicated to reconciliation but hopes they can reach over 2,000.

U Multicultural was one of the 39 who joined the Accord.

– Ryan Funk, U Multicultural.

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