Letters to the Editor: June 30

Cranbrook mayor on Sam Steele Days and National Aboriginal Day.

Sam Steele Days and National Aboriginal Day

This letter is in response to Joyce Green’s June 24 letter to the editor.

The City of Cranbrook has long recognized that Cranbrook is in the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa First Nation and we very much value our personal and professional relationship with our Ktunaxa neighbours.

On a “professional” level we have a number of Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) in place:

• Joint Management Agreement of St. Mary’s River Park (Draft)

• MoU to Acquire Lands Necessary for Airport Expansion

• MoU to Provide Emergency 9-1-1 Telephone Service

• MoU on Fire Suppression and First Responder Services for St. Mary’s Band School and Administration Buildings

• MoU to Support Grant Applications for Regional Wildland-Urban Interface Bio-energy Development Opportunities

• MoU to Establish Effective Government to Government Principles of Mutual Respect and Understanding

• MoU on Communication

Last fall Council unanimously supported a motion to proclaim October 21, 2013 to October 21, 2014 as a Year of Reconciliation, and I am working with the Chair of the Ktunaxa Nation Council on ways to implement the Proclamation.  We are also on the list to participate in two to four Reconciliation Dialogue Workshops over the next three years, organized by Reconciliation Canada.

Cranbrook City Council holds an annual meeting and dinner with the St. Mary’s Band Council to discuss issues and build relationships, and Chief Whitehead and I have worked together in several different capacities over the years.  Cranbrook’s Canadian Rockies International Airport is home to the Ktunaxa Reconciliation Sculpture and Olympic podium.

In 2012 Council contributed over $1000 and the use of city ball diamonds to help the Ktunaxa host the very successful 2012 Canadian Native Fastball Tournament here in Cranbrook. As Mayor I participate regularly in events organized by the Ktunaxa and the Metis including local celebrations of National Aboriginal Day (June 25 at the Heritage Inn this year), the Ktunaxa Nation’s Annual General Meeting (this year’s meeting is being held July 16 and 17 at Akisqnuk and everyone is invited to the Pow Wow at 7 p.m. on July 16) and in local celebrations of their rich cultures.  I very much enjoy relationships with friends who come from Ktunaxa and Metis heritage, some of whom are Cranbrook residents and others who are our neighbours.  We all share the same vision — a healthy, happy and prosperous future.

I want to congratulate the Sam Steele Society, President Mike Adams, Maureen Frank, Karin Penner, the many volunteers, and Cranbrook’s City Staff for making the 50th celebration of Sam Steele Days the best ever!  The event is important to the community and to our city’s economy.

This annual celebration happens because of the leadership and hard work of the Society; the City’s role is to make sure that the sports fields and other facilities are in good condition and that the volunteers have the street closures and “tools” in place to safely hold the events.  We would be happy to play the same role in supporting expanded National Aboriginal Day Celebrations in Cranbrook, perhaps under the leadership of Ms. Green.

Wayne Stetski, Mayor of Cranbrook