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WHEREAS Alberta’s urban municipal governments recognize the importance and value of Aboriginal and First Nations peoples living within and adjacent to municipal boundaries; AND WHEREAS the importance and value of building positive relationships with Aboriginal and First Nations communities is also recognized; AND WHEREAS social and economic benefits for all Albertans can be realized through the development and enhancement of relations between municipal governments and Aboriginal peoples / First Nations communities;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC General Assembly endorse the recommendations from the Final Report of the AAMDC/AUMA Advisory Committee on Aboriginal Issues: 1. That the AAMDC and AUMA pursue appropriate arrangements with the Province of Alberta to ensure greater municipal involvement in Aboriginal issues that may affect them.
2. That the municipal associations (AAMDC, AUMA and FCM) be involved in developing federal and provincial Aboriginal policies and legislation.
3. That as appropriate, the Boards of Directors of the AUMA and AAMDC organize membership education sessions on Aboriginal/First Nations issues at their respective conventions, and further that a resource package be assembled for the membership.
4. That Alberta Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and Alberta Municipal Affairs be asked to assemble and maintain a list of resource people in the field of Aboriginal relations.
5. That the AAMDC and AUMA continue the work of the present advisory committee by establishing a smaller implementation committee, with the goal of developing strategies and resource materials to help municipalities and Aboriginal-First Nations communities develop more effective working relationships and partnerships around common interests, in cooperation with the Province of Alberta and representatives of Aboriginal communities.
The work of the AAMDC-AUMA Advisory Committee on Aboriginal Issues is summarized in Building Relationships. The Committee was established in 2001, and has met regularly since that time. The Committee was mandated to examine municipal-First Nations relations and related provincial and federal policy, and following that, to make recommendations for strengthening municipal-First Nations relationships and address municipal concerns with related provincial and federal policy. The Report concludes that discussion and consultation between municipalities, First Nations, the Province of Alberta and the federal government are essential to effective local governance. The role of municipalities in the development of policy and legislation impacting Aboriginal peoples and local governments must be strengthened. Both municipalities and Aboriginal communities have a shared interest in improving the well-being of Aboriginal people living in urban and rural municipalities. The two provincial municipal associations in Alberta – the AAMDC and the AUMA – wish to work towards better relationships between all parties by facilitating the transfer of knowledge about First Nations and Aboriginal communities to municipal councillors and staff. There are many opportunities for municipal governments and First Nations to share technical expertise, services and political support on important local/regional initiatives.
Following the endorsement of Building Relationships: The Final Report of the AAMDC-AUMA Advisory Committee on Aboriginal Issues, a small group of municipal and Aboriginal officials met in June 2006 to explore how municipal-Aboriginal relations in Alberta could be enhanced. The Municipal Aboriginal Relationships Action Forum was formed to develop a document for municipal officials on how to build stronger relationships, both with First Nations and Mtis communities and with Aboriginal peoples living within municipalities. The draft document entitled Common Interests, Mutual Gains: Building Relations with Aboriginal People has been circulated to key stakeholders for comments. In February 2008, the AAMDC participated in the FCM workshop-Land Management in Local Communities: Opportunities and Challenges for First Nations-Municipal Government Relations. The AAMDC will continue to advocate rural interests in federal and provincial Aboriginal initiatives and policies.