The City of North Battleford and the Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs were recognized with a 2018 Economic Partnership Award.
The Saskatchewan Economic Development Alliance and Saskatchewan First Nations Economic Development Network presented the award at their 2018 Intersections for Growth conference in Saskatoon Wednesday. The city and BATC received the Affinity Credit Union Economic Partnership Award for their partnership and work towards reconciliation and economic development in Saskatchewan.
“We’re very excited about the award,” North Battleford City Manager Jim Puffalt said. “We’ve worked really hard for a couple of years with a view to gain a better understanding of each other and work towards a joint Indigenous employment strategy.”
Through the joint Indigenous employment strategy, eight individuals from the Battlefords Area Tribal Chiefs started a work-experience program with the City of North Battleford in April that will run until the end of August. The initiative came about following a number of workshops meant to look at addressing the communities’ challenges and improve understanding of other’s culture, governance, and history. The project is part of the First Nations-Municipal Community Economic Development Initiative.
BATC Executive Director Neil Sasakamoose said it was a great honour to receive the award.
“We’ve been working with each other since 2016 with a common goal to look for some kind of a partnership or new partnerships between our tribal council, BATC, and our member First Nation bands and the City of North Battleford,” he said.
Sasakamoose said the partnership will help remove some of the barriers between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
"Trust is the key word for us,” Sasakamoose said. “We’re trying to figure out how to co-exist better in light of a lot of challenges.”
He said the groups plan to continue collaborating on more projects in the future.
“We’re trying to define reconciliation between First Nations and the elected officials of North Battleford,” Sasakamoose added.
On Twitter: @battlefordsNOW
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