Statement from Warden Linton

Posted On Thursday September 30, 2021

WELLINGTON COUNTY - September 30th has become an important day in Canada. A new federal statutory holiday, today is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. September 30th has additional significance as Orange Shirt Day. On this day, we reflect on the devastating damage residential schools have caused to many Indigenous children and their families. It also reaffirms the universal truth that every child matters.

I want to pause and reflect on the actions the County has taken recently to honour our unique Indigenous roots here in Wellington.

Firstly, I want to thank our own Indigenous Advisory Committee – the IAC - for all the important work that you have done to explore and promote the County’s Indigenous history and culture. Thanks Colleen, Tammy, Amber, Gayle and Jennie.

Thanks to the IAC for creating a T-shirt design in recognition of Every Child Matters, and thanks to County Council Members and staff for purchasing and taking photos in these shirts this morning to demonstrate our support for reconciliation efforts.

All funds raised from the sale of the shirts will be donated to the Anishnabeg Outreach Healing Lodge and Wellness Programme. This programme provides counselling support services for residential school survivors.

Councillors will also notice the new bronze plaque we have here in our Council Chamber. I know that some of you took photos in your orange shirts beside this plaque. This plaque commemorates the Indigenous Land and Acknowledgement Ceremony held on December 11, 2020.

This plaque was smudged by our Indigenous Advisory Committee yesterday.

I want to also mention a few other actions that have been taken by our IAC:

Bi-monthly newsletter highlighting National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and education resources available for County employees.

Today, there will be a virtual Lunch and Learn hosted by the IAC focusing on stories from residential school survivors. This session will be recorded and made available on the internal website, The Well, for further viewing. It will also be made available to all members of council.

10 copies of Gord Downie’s “Secret Path” will be given away to County employees in a draw.

Promotion of Indigenous Canada training to all County of Wellington employees. This is free training is offered online through the University of Alberta.

In addition, in recognition of the important work of the IAC members and supporting their further development, the County is investing in the members by allowing them the opportunity to enroll in an online training bundle through Indigenous Corporate Training. Topics to be covered include Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Consultation and Engagement, Indigenous Employment, How to Negotiate with Indigenous Peoples as well as Working with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The County’s actions are not just symbolic gestures. They are real, they are authentic, and they are meaningful.

Thanks again to our Indigenous Advisory Committee, thanks to our CAO for your leadership on this, thanks to Susan Farrelly, Director of Human Resources, for your oversight and direction and thanks to County Council for your unwavering support.

- Warden Linton

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