The City of Yellowknife announced today that it is hiring an Indigenous Relations Advisor.
“The advisor will provide guidance on how the City can enhance their relationships with Indigenous peoples and cultures, and embed reconciliation into our core practices and decision-making – from programs, to services and strategies,” according to a press release from the city.
“A lot of the work that this person will be doing will be around looking at the work that we do within the city, from policies, to our programs, to see how we can really enhance access and inclusion for Indigenous peoples in city services, ” said Sheila Bassi-Kellett, senior administrative officer at the city.
Reporting to the City Administrator, the advisor will be tasked with coordinating the development of a Reconciliation Action Plan across all City departments.
The position is open to Canadian Indigenous persons only, with preference to Northern Indigenous persons, said Bassi-Kellett.
“The Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action and the UN Declaration on the Right of Indigenous People have given us the tools we need to redress the legacy of residential school and advance the process of reconciliation in Canada,” said Mayor Mark Heyck.
“The City is continuously working to enhance our relationship with Indigenous peoples in our community, and this new position will give us a dedicated resource to guide our actions,” said Heyck.
The population of Yellowknife is about a quarter Indigenous.
Bassi-Kellett said the city’s relationship with Indigenous people has been a priority for “quite a while”.
“So it’s really important that we, as public servants, and serving the resident sof Yellowknife, recognize and understand that we are here to create an inclusive space and all the work that we do, all the programs we deliver are respectful of everyone in the community,” said Bassi-Kellett.
Funding to staff the position for 18 months is secured and options to ensure sustainability beyond that are being considered.
“We’re really grateful that the federal government has provided us with the funding on this,” said Bassi-Kellett.