LETHBRIDGE, AB – A new partnership has formed between Lethbridge and the Blood Tribe.

City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve and sign a Memoranda of Respect, Understanding and Partnership with the Kainai community.

The MOU focuses on four areas of shared interest: health and wellness; economic development and employment; community planning; and communications.

Mayor Chris Spearman says “the agreement gives us the opportunity to better understand and reflect the needs of Blackfoot and other Indigenous peoples in the City’s plans, policies, programs and services.”

The MOU is guided by the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the RIghts of Indigenous Peoples, the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Calls to Justice of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Chief Roy Fox ‘Makiinima’ says “even though there have been differences between ourselves and the City of Lethbridge, we entered this memorandum with the hope that it will reduce the racism that has been evident from southern Alberta towards the people of the Kainaiwa/Blood Tribe and other Indigenous groups in the south.”

He adds “this is an opportunity for us to share our perspectives with the City of Lethbridge and southern Alberta; with the hope and understanding that it will lead to a better relationship.”

The implementation of the MOU will be carried out through joint working committees with representation from the City and Kainai/Blood Tribe Administrations. Working committees will report bi-annually to joint meetings of the Councils.

A public signing and celebration of the MOU will take place at a later date when public health restrictions allow gatherings and events.