Many municipalities indicate they want to build relationships with Indigenous communities, but do not know where to start. In response, AUMA and the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) are pleased to launch a new initiative that will help inform municipal governments of the history and culture of Indigenous peoples as a foundation for building understanding and relationships through an experiential learning session known as a Blanket Exercise.
The Blanket Exercise is highly-regarded as an effective tool for furthering the understanding of Indigenous history including the impact of residential schools and historical relations between Indigenous peoples and the Crown. With funding from Alberta Municipal Affairs, the Blanket Exercise Initiative is designed to support municipal governments to meet the new provisions of the Municipal Government Act, which encourages more communication and collaboration with Indigenous communities.
With increased knowledge of Indigenous history and culture, municipal governments will be better positioned to build respectful relations with Indigenous peoples. All municipalities are encouraged to consider this opportunity as the knowledge will assist in building effective relations with neighbouring First Nations and Metis Settlements, as well as Indigenous peoples living within municipal boundaries.
To apply, applicants must guarantee that a minimum of 20 individuals will participate and that at least eight of those individuals are municipal elected officials. Applicants are encouraged to partner with other municipalities to meet the minimum requirements.