Espanola council defers motion for First Nation acknowledgement

A motion tabled by Espanola Mayor Jill Beer to acknowledge First Nations and their contribution to the municipality has been deferred.

Mayor Beer wants First Nations acknowledged at the start of every council meeting.

Councillor Sandra Hayden says it is simply an acknowledgement.

However, Councillors Ken Duplessis and Maureen Vanalstine both expressed concerns about it.

Duplessis wants to know what the purpose of it is and Van Alstine wants to make sure the wording falls within legal guidelines.

Mayor Beer was absent for the discussion, so the council agreed to defer the motion until the next meeting of council later this month.

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2 Responses to Espanola council defers motion for First Nation acknowledgement

  1. Roger Pilon says:

    I would first like to commend Espanola Mayor Jill Beer for bringing forward the need to acknowledge First Nations and Indigenous Peoples at the beginning of every council meeting.

    Acknowledging territory shows recognition of, and respect for, Indigenous Peoples. It is recognition of their presence on the lands on which we all now live both in the past and the present. Recognition and respect are essential elements of establishing healthy, reciprocal relations. These relationships are key to reconciliation. Acknowledging territory is only the beginning of cultivating strong relationships with the First Peoples of Canada.

    As non-Indigenous Canadians we should all commit:

    • to continue to look forward to positive change for the situation of Indigenous
    • to find ways to address Indigenous-related myths and misconceptions
    • to not perpetuate stereotypes in our conversations or observations
    • to encourage others around us to keep reconciliation an ongoing effort
    • as a community to actively encourage ongoing support of and participate in
    National Indigenous Peoples Day every June 21st

    There are many Indigenous leaders and scholars in this area that I am sure would be more than happy to come and educate this council on the importance of reconciliation and the building of relationships through mutual respect and trust.

    I believe every elected official, whether at the municipal, provincial or federal level, should be informed with respect to Canada`s Indigenous Peoples. Furthermore, every politician should now be well acquainted with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report released in December of 2015 ( ).
    There are 94 calls to action in this report. This report provides a road map and strategies for beginning the process of reconciliation with Canada’s First Nations and Indigenous Peoples. Not knowing why acknowledgement is important or hiding behind the law to avoid or ignore reconciliation will not make this go away. The time to act is now. It`s time to become informed and do better.


    Dr. Roger Pilon
    Assistant Professor
    Laurentian University

  2. Terri says:

    Very well said Roger!

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