The Mayor of the Town of Bonnyville, Gene Sobolewski says it was an honor to be given the invitation to attend the recent powwow in Kehewin Cree First Nations and that Council supports its Indigenous neighbours.
“We were invited to attend, not only the breakfast but the grand march,” Mayor Sobolewski told Lakeland Connect. “And as everybody is aware of about two or three years ago now, the Town of Bonnyville is flying the Treaty Six flag, so we fly it in our council chambers and on Indigenous days.
The Mayor says the Town of Bonnyville undertook this journey about four years ago to start to recognize and learn about their Indigenous neighbors.
“It’s been an amazing awareness and awakening in terms of the culture itself but being able then to start to work together to find opportunities for partnerships and things of that nature,” Mayor Sobolewski said. “So, you see the Indian relay races that happened recently at the Bonnyville rodeo and this is the second year that it’s happened The races were very well received and there are more opportunities that we want to be able to explore.”
One of those opportunities is partnering with the Royal Canadian Legion in Bonnyville to help erect a monument in honor of the lost and recovered Indigenous children to residential schools in Canada.
The Legion itself is the one that’s piloting that particular program, and they were looking at having the town partner to provide the land and things like that.”
The Mayor says the Town of Bonnyville wants to make sure that the Indigenous elders in the Lakeland approve the design of the monument.
“We’ve got four nations that are in close proximity to Bonnyville so we want to make sure that their input is taken into consideration,” Mayor Sobolewski said. “So we have the proper consultation with their elders, and approval of language that’s going to be written on it and the monument itself.”
Mayor Sobolewski says, “So with that Council gave an endorsement.”
“We support our Indigenous neighbours,” Mayor Sobolewski concluded.