On this National Day of Truth and Reconciliation (also known as Orange Shirt Day), Valley Life Recreation (VLR) would like to share with the public our commitment to the role our organization plays with regard to Indigenous relations and engagement.
The recently announced Squirrel Hills Trail Park aims to reflect the community it is based in. The Trail Park is located in Anishinaabe Territory and on the Métis Homeland. It is important to reflect this in the design and future programming that will happen at the site.
VLR will be working with the Ditibineya-Ziibiing (Rolling River First Nation) as they are situated at only 30 KM from the Squirrel Hills Trail Park site and have close ties to the Minnedosa Area. Ditibineya-Ziibiing is a Treaty 4 nation located in Treaty 2 territory. VLR will also reach out to the First Nation of Treaty 2 Territory organization to work with them as well as Ditibineya-Ziibiing to ensure a meaningful territorial acknowledgment when it comes to the lands the trail park will be using. Work will also be undertaken with Momenta who has Indigenous staff from the area to provide Indigenous youth programming and to have them use the new trail park as a facility to work on outdoor adventure skills.
MÉTIS ENGAGEMENT PLAN
VLR is also engaging with the Manitoba Métis Federation via their Southwest Regional Offices and Minnedosa Métis Local – Les Métis. VLR will be working with them on territorial acknowledgement and to facilitate stories on the rich Métis history in Minnedosa, to be shared at this new venue which aims to reflect the community and share local history with all who use the trail park. Work with Momenta on programs that help get Métis youth out onto the land via the trail park to build outdoor adventure skills will also be explored.
In addition to this announcement today, Valley Life Recreation has published this Indigenous Engagement Plan in a permanent place on the VLR website. We do this to help the public understand the type of organization being built with Valley Life Recreation and to illustrate VLR’s long-term commitment to working collaboratively with Indigenous peoples. VLR will strive to do our part in learning about the wrongs which have been committed against all Indigenous peoples of Canada and how we can work together toward reconciliation.
VLR encourages all organizations, and specifically our peer organizations who are passionate about trails development, to adopt similar engagement plans and to see them through to fruition.