(FORT SMITH, NT) Wednesday, September 2, 2020 – Members of the Legislative Assembly recently returned from a productive three-day caucus retreat in the town of Fort Smith.
The Members were in a series of Caucus meetings throughout the weekend, where the following topics were covered: an agreement on initiating the Electoral Boundaries Commission process; discussion of the GNWT’s response to COVID-19; development of a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls action plan; a review of consensus government protocols; and the next steps in devolution.
Outside of that, the Members also met with leadership from Salt River First Nation, the Fort Smith Métis Council, and the Town of Fort Smith leadership. Additional activities included tours of the Territorial Fire Centre and the Fort Smith Aurora College Campus, and taking part in a Blanket Exercise.
The Blanket Exercise program is a participatory history lesson in which the participants explore relationships between Indigenous people and settlers. It allows for participants to start dialogue on colonization in a manner that fosters respect and reconciliation.
“It was important to me that Caucus participated in a Blanket Exercise,” said Rylund Johnson, Chair of Caucus. “When you look across Canada, the Northwest Territories is at the forefront of conversations around reconciliation. Staff from the Department of Education, Culture and Employment have worked hard to curate an NWT specific blanket exercise. I think that as we ask more and more of our staff to do this work and focus on reconciliation, we as leaders need to step up and do the same.”
Caucus would like to thank the people of Fort Smith for their outstanding hospitality.
“It is important as leaders to step away from the bureaucracy at times and renew our priorities and vision for the future of the Northwest Territories,” said Johnson.