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City seeking feedback on reconciliation plan

The City of Yellowknife is set to release its reconciliation plan for feedback from the public.

The plan is an outline on how the city will try and build relationships with Indigenous governments.

Some of the potential projects mentioned include working on a memorial for residential schools.

The plans were shared with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation and the North Slave Métis Alliance in February.

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Councillor Niels Konge said relations with local Indigenous governments, like YKDFN, have “ramped up” since he was first elected as a councillor nine years ago — when the city had little interaction with them.

Councillor Stacie Smith, who is Tłı̨chǫ and the only Indigenous member on city council, said the plan will change and evolve as time passes.

Councillor Julian Morse said a number of plaques around town commemorating Yellowknife’s history are pretty outdated and focus too much on settler history.

“Residents feel that YKDFN history has not been communicated well by the city and they see a lot of tributes to mining history which some people find hard to reconcile and difficult to see,” he said. “There’s more to mining history than this great frontier thing, there’s a darker part.”

The city has added wayfinding kiosks at some spots around the city, but Morse said more needs to be done.

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Morse added that the city should keep in the front of its mind the impact residential schools has had on the city’s Indigenous population, and how Yellowknife’s homeless population is predominantly Indigenous. 

Morse said making sure planning for homelessness was connected to the city’s reconciliation plan would ensure success moving forward.

Ndilǫ Chief Ernest Betsina, who was in the meeting, told councillors YKDFN are working on their own plan. 

It will be reviewed every 3 to 5 years.

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