MYM Episode 5


MYM Episode 5

The Importance of Representation in Municipal Decision Making

It’s absolutely crucial that people making decisions at the municipal level are actually reflective of the people who live and work and raise families in those communities. If your government doesn’t look like you, even to a small extent, it’s hard for your issues and your voices to be brought to the table. We need to be heard. We have issues, we have problems, we have concerns that need to be raised and we’re not going to get those raised if we don’t have representation.

Indigenous Leadership in Stephenville, Newfoundland

My name is Tom Rose and I’m an Indigenous Mayor of the Indigenous town of Stephenville, Newfoundland. When we look at the history of this community, we were entrenched with culture of Indigenous peoples, we are in the land of the Mi’kmaw and former to that it was the Beothuks so we have worked diligently as a community to patronize, support, promote, be inclusive, and raise the profile of our Indigenous culture and roots. We’re so fortunate we have some great community leaders here in Stephenville. We have the Newfoundland Aboriginal Women’s Network that’s headquartered here, we also have the People of the Dawn, our friendship centre, and we have some great leaders here. For me as a mayor, I like to listen. I like to collaborate. He consults with the Indigenous Community on every decision that he makes. He worked with the People of the Dawn Indigenous Friendship Centre about three years ago and it was the very first time that a Mi’kmaw flag was raised permanently to stay there permanently at our municipality here so that was a really awesome day forward for us and that marked the first steps of that reconciliation effort between our town council and the Indigenous Community.

Building a Good Relations Treaty

The council has gotten involved in the activities we are planning, has always shown an interest in incorporating and collaborating with us and most recently, with the horrific discovery of the bodies that have been found over in Kamloops and the rising number of across Canada of children being found, the town is taking particular interest in making a forward commitment and even going as far as developing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indigenous Community and we are going to call it a Good Relations Treaty. If you look at the big scope across Canada Pan-Canadian, we’re a mosaic of culture and our Indigenous Peoples were here before Colonialization so to me, every community needs to be respectful, needs to be inclusive, but you need to go back to your roots so every part of Canada had Indigenous People in them so my recommendation to all municipalities, all hamlets, all cities: do what you can to reach out to be collaborative in your approach, listen, and be proactive towards increasing the visibility and the acceptance of Indigenous Peoples.


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