Bruderheim town council has adopted a new policy ensuring that all official community events will acknowledge the area’s Indigenous roots.

The resolution was passed at the Feb. 7 town council meeting meaning whenever there’s an official town event such as a public hearing or the mayor’s supper a moment needs to be taken to acknowledge the traditional lands of Treaty 6 First Nations and that the town is located within Treaty 6 territory. The policy is also meant to acknowledge the accomplishments of Treaty 6 First Nations.

The treaty was signed by the Crown, Plains and Wood Cree, Nakota, Saulteaux and Dene leaders at Fort Carlton in 1876. The boundaries extend across Alberta and into Saskatchewan.

Town Mayor Karl Hauch said it was an important policy for Bruderheim to bring in.

“We need to be cognizant of the fact that not always have we looked after honouring those treaties,” he said. “I think it goes a long way to educate people about what is important in our world and that’s being fair to all the citizens of our country. Treaty 6 folks that lived here before we been here need to be recognized. It is important for our town and council.”

Hauch explained he attended the blanket exercise, which is a tool for people to learn more about Indigenous history.

The interactive learning exercise uses blankets to help cover 500 years of history in a half hour workshop. Participants take on the role of Indigenous people living in Canada with the blankets representing their land. The facilitators act as both the narrator and European colonizers.

Hauch said he learned a lot about how Canada treated Indigenous people.

“I think it is important to recognize first of all the importance of the treaties we have and those people deserve to be recognized and respected in our community,” he said. “I think education is the key. Just like for myself personally when I was going through the blanket exercise, I learned stuff that I didn’t learn when I went to school. If we can open the eyes of the folks in our communities, it will go along way to bringing the level of respect for Indigenous society to where it should be.”

He added it was only within the last few years that people have become more vocal about respecting the treaties in the area and Hauch hopes the policy will bring more awareness.