Indigenous engagement has many different definitions, but in general, it is the engagement, consultation, interaction and communication with Indigenous peoples, on and off reserve, in regards to any process, development, or activity that will affect them, their well-being, way of life (including customs, traditions, hunting, gathering), and inherent Treaty rights.
Basically, any activity to take place on Treaty land must be consulted with Indigenous peoples (as per the Duty to Consult and the right to free, prior and informed consent). We, as settler (and Treaty people) have an obligation and duty to communicate, interact and collaborate with the Indigenous peoples of this land.
This engagement process creates and sustains beneficial relationships, partnerships, and capacity building for each community.
Indigenous engagement is important to the success of intergovernmental relations between municipalities and Indigenous Nations. From the first signing of Treaty, these agreements are still legal agreements, which were made to share the land between the First Nations and the Crown (Canada).
It is a right of all Indigenous peoples to be consulted on decisions that affect them, there communities, their traditional territories and way of life. This right of free, prior, and informed consent must begin to be recognized by each municipality throughout Canada.
Through proper and genuine engagement, nation to municipality relationships can begin to develop, with the creation of policies, programs and awareness events helping serve the needs of every individual.
The Town of Devon recognizes and acknowledges that we are on Treaty 6 territory, and that all people here are beneficiaries of this treaty agreement to share the land. Treaty 6 is the traditional territories of many Indigenous peoples including the Plains Cree, Niisitapi, Stoney Nakota Sioux, Dene, Anishinaabe, and Métis. The Town of Devon is dedicated to ensuring the spirit of Treaty 6 is honored, respected, recognized and upheld.
It must be kept in mind that Devon citizens are residents within Treaty 6 territory. The current area of the town sits within the traditional territories of Maskêkosihk (Enoch Cree Nation), Papaschase First Nation, with the area having been used by many other nations and Indigenous peoples prior to Treaty and prior to the development of Devon.
The Town of Devon will continue to uphold the Truth and Reconciliation commissions’ “Calls to Action” and will strive towards developing and maintaining genuine relationships and collaboration between First Nations and Métis people and communities of Treaty 6 territory and all of Alberta all while acknowledging and upholding Treaty rights, the Duty to consult, and genuine reconciliation.
See the Truth and Reconciiation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action here
The Town of Devon is committed to working together with our Indigenous brothers and sisters of Treaty 6 territory and throughout the rest of Canada. We commit to genuine and meaningful engagement as well as implementing cultural awareness and training opportunities for staff, council, and residents of the town. We recognize that reconciliation cannot happen without action, which is why we are working on following through with the TRC “Calls to Action” and formally recognizing them within our municipal governance structure.
We will continue to work with our Indigenous communities, Elders, and leadership within Treaty 6 territory and beyond to ensure that our engagement is transparent, genuine, and collaborative. We recognize and commit to the Duty to Consult with the Indigenous peoples of Treaty 6, and we recognize the inherent Treaty Rights of all Indigenous people. Through collaboration and meaningful relationships, we solemnly commit to working with you to help build a safer, cleaner, and better future for the future generations.
The Town is currently implementing mandatory cultural awareness training for all staff, Mayor and council. We are also continually planning and implementing cultural awareness events and workshops for all Town of Devon residents and visitors which will allow for everyone to experience and learn about First Nations, Métis and Inuit culture, traditions and history! These workshops and events are being organized with the many nations and settlements of Treaty six territory and MNA zone 4.
Flags of Treaty Six Territory and the Métis will be permanently raised in front of town hall to honor and acknowledge the territories in which the Town of Devon is situated and all Indigenous peoples of the area; past present and future!
Asides from attending local cultural events and workshops, there are boundless opportunities across Treaty 6, 7, and 8 territories to attend events and learn about Indigenous culture! Feel free to attend pow-wow’s, cultural celebrations, or simply stop by and visit any of the First Nations and Métis communities throughout Alberta to learn more about the communities and the culture!
If you would like more information on Devon’s Indigenous engagement initiatives, workshops or have any questions, contact:
Mitch Wincentaylo, Indigenous Engagement Coordinator: 587-597-0691
Treaty Talk - Sharing the River of Life
This 50-minute teaching tool will help everyone to better understand our collective responsibility to treaty. The purpose of this video is to build understanding, allyship and bridges for better relationships and working together.
This film, through the sharing of a traditional Cree understanding on natural law and treaty, will explore and model how indigenous nations and non-indigenous allies in Canada can come together to transform racism and discrimination at a local and systemic level and to build a future of mutual benefit.