My welcome remarks:
Siyisgaas – thank you. Thank you Kendall, Thank you Elders for being with us tonight, Elder Big Crow for your blessing, Mayor Nenshi and all of you for coming to Tsuut’ina to be with us tonight.
One of our colleagues from Lakeview sent me some photos from the 1920’s – they were taken at Elbow River Camp – yes, that’s the new name of the Calgary Stampede Indian Village – and they appear to be of a gathering of Calgary Councilors and Tsuut’ina Band Leaders. I don’t know if that was the first or the last of these kinds of gatherings, but this has not taken place in my lifetime and it is truly an honour and a privilege to welcome all of you for this dinner as leaders of our respective communities.
This is just the next step on a journey that started with our Nihisgaka Ogha Dinner Series – and a handful of you were with us for one of those three dinners. These were designed to educate, to build bridges of understanding, to get to know each other – these were about building relationships – transactional business will come later. Tonight, let’s get to know about each other’s backgrounds, history and cultures.
Our dinners have been a huge success – already resulting in doors opening with our Lakeview neighbours, invitations to host individual groups and this historic evening. We want to find ways to work together, to build together, to create and imagine together. We are open for ideas and for business.
We hope that following tonight you will go back to your offices, your wards and communities and share what you have heard and learned and who you met. Our futures depend on each other and I am grateful to Mayor Nenshi for reaching out following the dinner series to continue the dialogue. I understand the next event will be next door – at your place.
We are all intertwined, braided and bound, like Sweetgrass to forge a new future across different backgrounds and borders – together.
Thank you for being here tonight.