Engagement work for Indigenous Center underway, Indigenous participation sought for May 5 event

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The group leading the creation of a local Indigenous center is seeking input from area residents who identify as Indigenous on how a center might better meet the needs of the community. As part of their engagement initiatives, they are hosting a Community Talking Circle upstairs at Frank Wills Memorial Hall on the evening of May 5th.

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“Stoney Nakoda Elders and Knowledge Keepers, along with the Rotary Club and Cochrane and supportive community partners are leading the development of a much-needed Indigenous center in and around Cochrane,” reads a press release. on the next session.

“This group has worked to create a circle of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Cochrane to work together to rebuild our society from the ground up by creating a platform of unity, collaboration, mutual respect and of righteousness. The goal is to establish an Indigenous Innovation Center in the town of Cochrane that is owned and operated by Indigenous people for Indigenous people, with the active encouragement and support of non-Indigenous allies.

Described as a “conversation circle,” the session is aimed at Aboriginal people living in or around Cochrane. The Center Advisory Group will seek participants’ input on what the Center, its governance and operations should look like.

“We need to be equal partners in this process,” reads a quote from Tina Fox, a Stoney Nakoda elder and key member of the advisory group.

“And to educate and share our culture with the Town of Cochrane, because we’ve spent over 150 years learning about non-Indigenous culture, so maybe now is the time to share our world with the Town of Cochrane as well. “

Attendees can expect “ceremony, refreshments and sharing” during the session, which takes place from 5-6:30 p.m. on May 5.

“Sharing our identity and having a center in the center of town is life changing,” reads a quote from Daryl Kootenay, a Stoney Nakoda Youth Council leader involved in forming the center.

“I think it will create a safe place for our employees, but it’s also an opportunity to be innovative and creative in building relationships.”