The City of Brandon has received national recognition for its Truth and Reconciliation Week 2021 and Brandon Urban Aboriginal Peoples’ Council partnership from the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators (CAMA).
The municipality was presented with the 2022 CAMA Willis Award for Innovation, in the 20,001-100,000-population category.
“CAMA is pleased to recognize the City of Brandon and the Brandon Urban Aboriginal Peoples’ Council for their partnership and innovation in organizing the community’s Truth and Reconciliation Week 2021,” said Jack Benzaquen, CAMA president, CAMA representative for Quebec and City Manager for the City of Dollard-des-Ormeaux, QC.
Uniting the community, the Brandon Urban Aboriginal Peoples’ Council (BUAPC) developed the week – five days of commemoration, celebration and education focused on the need for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to gather in right relationship.
The seeds of this road to reconciliation began in 2010, when Brandon’s City Council created BUAPC. Its central principles of cooperation and collaboration help ensure Indigenous people are reflected in the community they call home.
The existence of BUAPC and the services it offers has also affected how City of Brandon departments now consider the needs of Brandon’s Indigenous population.
Working with BUAPC, staff training is being developed and efforts are being carried out by City departments related to Indigenous-led cultural infrastructure and activities.
“Truth and Reconciliation Week is the result of 12 years of conversation, learning, healing, relationship-building and action in the community,” said City of Brandon Mayor Rick Chrest. “We are pleased to support the efforts of BUAPC at the department and community level.”
“Truth and reconciliation aren’t just words any more – they have become a reality,” stated BUAPC chairperson Leah LaPlante. “The week was a great example of people coming together to learn and laugh and feast together. Notable among the events were the Orange Shirt Day Walk, which drew 700 to 1,000 Brandonites, and the evening entertainment event, entitled Healing by the River, which drew 500 participants.”