Planned reconciliation sessions between members of Calgary’s Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee (CAUAC) and Ward 13 Coun. Dan McLean didn’t go ahead, but the councillor said he’s still come a long way on his journey.
A footnote in CAUAC’s annual report being delivered at Wednesday’s regular meeting of council in a review of boards, committees and commissions, indicates that planned sessions didn’t materialize.
The report shows that there was an Elder’s Healing Circle with Coun. McLean.
“While the following planned sessions did not commence as planned, CAUAC wishes to express its desire for and openness to seek future relationship-building opportunities with Cllr. McLean,” read the annual report.
McLean faced a series of recommendations after a video had surfaced on social media showing him involved in a video where slurs against Indigenous Canadians were being used. The Ward 13 councillor stepped away from boards, committees and commissions while he made amends.
The Mayor’s Office had consulted with the city’s Indigenous Relations Office and CAUAC on the incident.
Mayor Jyoti Gondek said at the time that it was enlightening for her to understand Indigenous ways of knowing and their administration of justice.
Outside council chambers Tuesday, Mayor Gondek said her office was a part of convening the Elders and Coun. McLean and after the Healing Circle she believed there was more to come.
“I felt it was important to gain insight from the folks that were most impacted, and their best recommendation was that if Councillor McLean was willing to go through an exercise with Elders, it would be a good start,” the mayor said.
“That’s what I brought forward at council. Councillor McLean agreed to that. I can’t tell you where the process is sitting. It is not my process. It’s a process that Councillor McLean was supposed to go through.”
The committee noted their appreciation for being involved in the process.
“CAUAC was grateful to be consulted by the Mayor’s Office upon revelations of inappropriate past microaggressions,” the report read under the heading “Councillor behaviour.”
McLean, in a text response to LWC, said he’s been involved in a series of reconciliation efforts since that time. He referenced specifically the Healing Circle.
“This was a very emotional experience that I am very grateful for,” he said.
He said that the Elders indicated they wanted to see more action from him. Since that time, McLean said he’s been working with the Indigenous Relations Office and attended several events including attending a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s vigil and march, working with the Tsuut’ina Nation on several issues, plus he’s taken Indigenous History courses at the University of Calgary.
“Over the last year, I have learned a lot and I am very grateful for the relationships that I have been able to build with our First Nations communities and will continue to work on the important work around Truth and Reconciliation,” McLean said.
When asked why the aforementioned sessions didn’t go ahead as planned, McLean said both sides remain open to further relationship building.
Mayor Gondek said they will find out tomorrow what the committee specifically meant by the remarks in their annual report.
The CAUAC report also indicated that they’d been invited by the Anti-Racism Committee to participate in a new sub-committee to help create additional parameters for councillor actions.
“Unfortunately, the ad hoc subcommittee could not advance with collective recommendations due to a lack of volunteer capacity,” their annual report read.
“However, CAUAC has a vested interest in facilitating and moving recommendations forward, especially considering that microaggressions towards Indigenous peoples require an increased component of cultural awareness.”