This outdoor image announces the launch of Montreal's new , five-year Indigenous strategy. (City of Montreal)

Montreal launches Indigenous reconciliation plan

The City of Montreal has announced a five-year plan to further reconciliation with Indigenous people. In 2018, the city appointed a commissioner for Indigenous relations whose mission was to develop training and awareness programs for city employees and to put in place an action plan to recognize the contribution of Indigenous people to the development of Montreal. According to Canada’s 2016 census, Montreal has over 34,000 Indigenous residents. 

Some symbolic changes made

Last year, Montreal changed the name of a city street to an Indigenous name. In September 2017, city officials added a white pine to its flag to honour the continuous presence of Indigenous people on the island of Montreal. The flag already had images of plants symbolizing the Europeans who settled Montreal  in the 19th century: a thistle for those from Scotland (lower right), (clockwise) a shamrock for the Irish, a rose for the English, and a lily for the French.

In 2017, the City of Montreal added the white pine to the centre of its flag honouring the continuous presence of Indigenous people. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

‘This is hope,’ says mayor

Montreal’s new strategy was developed in consultation with several organizations that work with Indigenous people. It has several aspects. The city promises to work with Indigenous people’s government in treating urban issues that affect them. It promises to improve the visibility of the Indigenous presence in Montreal through urban landscape, design and toponomy. The city will seek to support Indigenous organizations, the cultural and economic development of Indigenous people and to improve their feeling of safety.

“This is not a report to be put on the shelf,” said Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante in a video news conference on November 3, 2020. “This is hope.”

Categories: Indigenous, Society
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