There’s no question that the City of Vernon could be wading into a minefield.
Council wants to investigate the feasibility of cultural competency training for staff, elected and the public, with the primary focus being indigenous cultures.
“Reconciliation calls for community action,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham, who called for the matter to be investigated.
And Cunningham has a point as the Okanagan people were part of our region long before settlers came, but there are numerous examples of them not being included as neighbours and partners. That situation is starting to evolve but it’s challenging to move ahead socially and economically unless all of us have a full understanding of the damage done.
Obviously there will be those who question why the city should lead the process, but the simple answer is someone has to, and local government has the financial resources to move ahead unlike non-profit groups.
And there will be those who challenge the city’s priorities when there are significant infrastructure issues facing the community. However, the case can be made that ensuring all residents feel included and appreciated is a critical building block for the future.
Ultimately, all council did was ask staff to investigate the feasibility of cultural training. No actual dollars have been spent and may never be spent depending on the final cost.
To help council make a final decision, residents are urged to let the elected officials know what they think.