City of Kamloops and Tk'emlups recognized nationally for collaboration, relationship-building

City, Tk'emlups win award

The City of Kamloops and Tk’emlups te Secwepemc have won a national award recognizing the collaboration and relationship-building efforts the two communities have undertaken for years.

The Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators presented Mayor Ken Christian and Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir with the first-ever 2022 CAMA Collaboration Award during a virtual ceremony on Wednesday.

Christian noted that cooperative programs and meetings, efficient shared services and good training for city employees — such as Indigenous language training — has helped the city develop a strong working relationship with TteS.

“I think before you can have a relationship, you first must be friends. And we have really worked hard with TteS and the chief and councillors there," he said.

"We attend each other’s inaugural meetings, we break bread together and we learn about each other and each other's issues and understanding certainly some of the cultural issues at play I think is important."

Christian said it’s then important to “roll up your sleeves and be prepared to do the work.”

According to CAMA, the city and TteS have demonstrated relationship building through engaging in community-to-community meetings and celebrations and providing shared messaging around the pandemic and climate-related events.

Christian said it was important for the two communities to celebrate together.

“Whether it’s having Tk’emlups at our Canada Day celebrations or our veteran’s dinner, or whether its our attending the powwow or truth and reconciliation ceremonies at Tk’emlups, we do that — and we make that a priority,” he said.

“I think that helps us build a relationship and we will continue to do that.”

The two communities share service agreements for fire protection, transit and sanitary sewer management.

CAMA also noted the city’s hiring of an external relations manager and project archaeologist to assist in the work between the two parties.

Casimir said the TteS’ relationship with the local municipality dates back to the 1950s and 1960s, and continues today.

“It is as friends, and it’s also as partners, and also as government-to-government in upholding the health and safety of our respective communities, as well,” Casimir said.

“Very proud and honoured of those steps and that relationship.”

She said the relationship is a prime example of reconciliation, which can only happen when parties truly work together and take the time to understand one another.

Casimir said she appreciated the relationship especially as the band announced the finding of over 200 probable unmarked graves near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School last May.

“They were there truly at the worst of times for us here. As a local First Nation, a reserve right next door to a local municipality, we truly leaned on them and they were there and reaching out to support in any way they could,” she said.

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