Kitsiskoaaminooniksi Neighbourly Agreement of Respect and Understanding

Kitsiskoaaminooniksi Neighbourly Agreement of Respect and Understanding

By Todd Eagle Child Photo Credit: Todd Eagle Child & Tara Many Fingers

The Kitsiskoaaminooniksi (We are all clan members) Neighbourly Agreement of Respect and Understanding was signed on Friday, February 9, 2024, at the Red Crow Community College in Standoff, Alberta. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been in the works since April 2022, although the concept is nothing new, the work that has been done over the last two years has finally come to fruition with the signing of an official MOU.

The MOU is an agreement between the Blood Tribe and the surrounding communities and municipalities that include the towns and counties of Cardston, Magrath, Fort Macleod, Pincher Creek. Its purpose is to address issues facing Blood Tribe members living and doing business in these communities. The Blood Reserve and Lethbridge already have an MOU that was signed back in May 2021, this document provided the template for the Kitsiskoaaminooniksi Neighbourly Agreement of Respect and Understanding.

Some of the issues that Blood Tribe members must face that affect their quality of life: racism, unemployment, addictions, lack of supports, the need for cultural awareness, and homelessness. Representatives at the table from each community stressed on the importance of working together to find solutions to the issues mentioned.

Blood Tribe Chief Makiinima welcomed and addressed those present from the Tribe, the representatives from the surrounding communities and the Blood Tribe Council members who helped make this day possible. Makiinima gave a brief history lesson on past leaders of the Blood Tribe and the vastness of the Blackfoot Confederacy Territory.

“I am so glad that my grandniece and members of council and others have gotten together to see how we can build trust amongst ourselves, to learn to appreciate each other and hopefully; we will be able to work together on some important matters that will benefit the tribe and benefit the surrounding communities.” Said Makiinima.         

The Kitsiskoaaminooniksi Neighbourly Agreement of Respect and Understanding MOU was then signed by all the representatives in attendance. Member of Parliament, Glen Motz whose constituencies include Medicine Hat, Cardston and Warner stated,

“I know that some level of independence is important, but there is so much power, strength and influence when we come together in unity and collaboration.” Motz continues, “Being joined around a common goal and purpose, is and can be life changing.”

Blood Tribe Councillor, Diandra Bruised Head who has been at the forefront of helping bridge the communities together gave a brief word on what it means to reconcile.

“To reconcile takes two parties that have wronged each other to come back together in peace, truth also takes two parties, one to speak and one to listen. You cannot have reconciliation without forgiveness, and you cannot have forgiveness without truth,” said Bruised Head.

 Bruised Head then touched on the Going Forward Initiative which is a direct response to an Anti-Racism study that was done by the Blood Tribe in the past few years. The study recommends that there is continued work and partnership with our neighbors to address systemic and systematic racism that harms everyone. The study was presented in a previous MOU meeting held in Cardston, AB, that is where Blood Tribe Tribal Government and External Affairs presented the Anti Racism Strategy. Other presentations included, to name a few: the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Government of Canada’s Approach to Implementation of the Inherent Right and the Negotiation of Aboriginal Self-Government, and a background on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

Town of Cardston Councillor, Paula Brown who has worked closely with Councillor Bruised Head on the MOU was invited to attend Blood Tribe Community meetings over the past few years and was thankful for being embraced with love and respect by the communities. Brown along with the MOU committee served a pancake breakfast at the Kainai Powwow and Celebration 2023.

“What a blessing that we can be united, I have a saying in our home, and we try and live by it; we are known by our actions,” said Brown.

A victory song was sung by Blood Tribe Councillor Floyd Big Head, who stood with Cardston County Councillor, Tom Nish, Town of Cardston Councillor Paula Brown, and Blood Tribe Councillor Diandra Bruised Head.

Blood Tribe Councillor and MC for the MOU signing, Travis Plaited Hair ended off the signing with these wise words of encouragement and who always refers back to the teachings of our grandfathers and grandmothers.

“We never look behind us we only look forward, the best example of that is at our Aakokatsin when you see the societies dance, you’ll never see any of them look back they only dance forward.” Plaited Hair continued with.

“Because that’s the only thing you have control of, you can’t control what happened in the past, what’s done is done, but you can make things better for the future.”

The Kitsiskoaaminooniksi Neighbourly Agreement of Respect and Understanding signing was followed by a feast and those in attendance were welcomed to take part in a tour of the Red Crow Community College’s Main Campus that had its grand opening on October 20, 2022.

Blood Tribe Communications will continue to keep you updated on the Kitsiskoaaminooniksi Neighbourly Agreement of Respect and Understanding.

 

Old Agency Drummers at the Kitsiskoaaminooniksi Neighbourly Agreement of Respect and Understanding signing at Red Crow Community College, Standoff, Alberta on February 9, 2024. (photo credit: Tara Many Fingers)

Chief Makiinima signing the Kitsiskoaaminooniksi Neighbourly Agreement of Respect and Understanding signing at Red Crow Community College, Standoff, Alberta on February 9, 2024. (photo credit: Tara Many Fingers)

L to R – MP Glen Motz, Cardston Mayor Maggie Kronen, Blood Tribe Councillor Floyd Big Head, County of Cardston Randy Bullock, Pincher Creek Councillor Sahra Nodge, Blood Tribe Councillor Clarence Black Water, Cardston Councillor Paula Brown, Cardston County Tom Nish, Blood Tribe Councillor Diandra Bruised Head, Maria Russell, Tony Delaney, Blood Tribe Chief Makiinima, MD Pincher Creek Dave Hodge, Fort Macleod Mayor Brent Feyter at the Kitsiskoaaminooniksi Neighbourly Agreement of Respect and Understanding signing at Red Crow Community College, Standoff, Alberta on February 9, 2024. (photo credit: Todd Eagle Child)

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