Following meaningful and respectful conversation between the City of Terrace and former City of Terrace Councillor Jessica McCallum-Miller, both parties recognize that one of the unavoidable consequences of colonialism is that harm can be caused even when no person or institution intended to cause harm. Systemic racism can operate in colonial institutions without anyone being aware of it. For example, by processes which are incompatible with Indigenous values and protocols.
The Parties acknowledge that while the City never intended to do or say things that would have a negative impact on Ms. McCallum-Miller, she was impacted by systemic racism and by municipal processes and policies in a way that caused harm to her sense of dignity and equality as an Indigenous woman which forced her to resign from City Council. The City apologizes to Ms. McCallum-Miller for those experiences.
In 2021, City Council unanimously adopted a resolution and publicly declared that it values the Indigenous peoples of the area and seeks to build strong relationships founded in trust and respect. The City was then and is now and always committed to reconciliation, founded on understanding of truths experienced through colonialism, residential schools, and systemic racism.
The City of Terrace is declaring today its continued commitment to mitigate the harm experienced by Ms. McCallum-Miller and other Indigenous peoples and to counteract the ongoing impact of colonialism in Terrace. It pledges to make best efforts to reinitiate the Community-to-Community forums between the City and Kitselas First Nation, and the City and Kitsumkalum First Nation. Among the many issues facing our common communities, the City intends to raise, discuss and consult with its Indigenous partners how to create time, space and opportunities in City Council meetings, bylaws, policies and processes to better respect, hear and reflect information and concerns from Indigenous peoples, and in particular the Kitselas and Kitsumkalum First Nations.
The City also commits to remedy the effects of systemic colonialism in its practices. As an example, the City will hold annual mandatory training for City Council and Staff on the City’s Anti-Racial Discrimination and Anti-Racism Policy as well as annual mandatory cultural awareness training on the history of the Kitsumkalum and Kitselas peoples, colonialization and its ongoing impacts, and the ways that systemic racism and anti-Indigeneity operates in municipal structures. Whenever possible, the City will engage people from Kitselas and Kitsumkalum to provide that training.
Jessica McCallum-Miller is happy that the City is committed to ending systemic racism in municipal processes. She is committed to the road of reconciliation of which this is just one step and looks forward to working with the City in the future.
The parties are committed to moving forward together in mutual respect and in the spirit of reconciliation.
Mayor Sean Bujtas Hlox-Majagalee (Jessica McCallum-Miller)
City of Terrace