Overview

Alberta is taking meaningful steps toward stronger relationships with Indigenous Peoples. 

Reconciliation is a journey of education and action to improve relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. It is ongoing and active, and it starts with acknowledging the truth about Canada’s residential school system and colonial origins.

Alberta’s government is committed to collaborating with Indigenous communities and walking the path toward reconciliation together. This work has already begun, and it will continue to be a priority for our province.

Highlights

These are some notable actions we’ve taken recently.

  • A Métis basket and sash are displayed.
    Indigenous Reconciliation Initiative

    The Indigenous Reconciliation Initiative provides grants to support cultural and economic opportunities for Indigenous communities in Alberta.

  • Artist rendering of a stylized heart that could potentially go on a residential school monument
    Residential school monument

    We worked with Indigenous people to develop a monument and reconciliation garden on the Alberta Legislature grounds for the victims and survivors of Canada’s residential school system.

Government action

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) Calls to Action set a path toward reconciliation by providing meaningful targets for governments, organizations and individuals.

We have made progress on more than 20 of the calls to action that relate to the province. This includes some of the initiatives listed below in the areas of education, justice, child welfare, health and more.

We are also pursuing reconciliation in many other ways aside from the calls to action. By listening to Indigenous Peoples and finding Indigenous-led solutions, we are helping affect meaningful change that will lead to a better future for all.

Justice

We are helping Indigenous people navigate the court system, addressing barriers to support and providing services that are culturally appropriate.

  • Including Indigenous input on public safety initiatives and policies

    The Public Security Indigenous Advisory Committee, composed of Indigenous leaders, is developing strategies to improve public safety in Indigenous communities and across Alberta.

  • Providing assistance in the court system

    The Indigenous Courtwork Program provides support and advice to Indigenous people appearing in the criminal, youth, and family divisions of the provincial court. The Alberta government provides funding to multiple organizations that provide this service in the province.

    Indigenous people charged with minor offenses may be able to complete the Alternative Measures Program. This program is meant to remove systemic barriers that may keep Indigenous offenders from getting help. It uses a restorative justice approach and supports Indigenous cultural or spiritual needs.

  • Providing cultural programming and services for Indigenous inmates

    Indigenous Elders and program coordinators who are familiar with the issues facing Indigenous inmates and communities offer programs in Alberta’s correctional centres, as well as for individuals serving community-based sentences.

    Several universities receive grants for inmate programs in correctional centres, which help to deliver Indigenous-specific courses.

  • Creating Indigenous Courts

    The Edmonton Indigenous Court and Calgary Indigenous Court are part of the provincial court system and are working to provide culturally relevant, restorative and holistic systems of justice for Indigenous people.

  • Expanding Indigenous police services

    Alberta’s government provides funding for Indigenous police services through the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program.

    Alberta is also providing a grant to help Indigenous and municipal communities examine different policing models and develop a business case for their own stand-alone police service or a regional equivalent.

  • Providing cultural awareness training and education

    We provide Indigenous cultural awareness training to all government staff, including corrections officers, peace officers and probation officers. The training underscores the diversity of Indigenous cultures, dispels myths, describes the role of Elders and highlights the programs and ceremonies provided in Alberta’s correctional centres.

    The government worked with the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Law to develop courses that teach law students about the effects of colonization, residential schools and the loss of Indigenous cultural connections.

    Lawyers in Alberta are encouraged to complete Indigenous training through the Law Society of Alberta. The Alberta Crown Prosecution Service also provides other learning opportunities to actively combat systemic issues that are contributing to the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system.

Health

We are working with Indigenous groups on shared health priorities and providing funding for Indigenous health programs that are culturally informed.

  • Working together to improve health outcomes for Indigenous people

    Alberta Health is implementing recommendations from its Indigenous Panel to help transform Alberta’s primary health care system to provide accessible, relevant and culturally safe primary health care to First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. This includes creating an Indigenous health division within the ministry of Health as well as a new Indigenous Innovation Fund, which will help Indigenous communities design and deliver innovative primary health care services and projects.

    Alberta Health will also invest in a community-based Indigenous patient navigator program to support Indigenous peoples throughout their health care journey. These initiatives are part of the Modernizing Alberta’s Primary Health Care System (MAPS) initiative.

    The Indigenous Wellness Core also partners with Indigenous peoples, communities and key stakeholders to provide accessible, culturally appropriate health services for First Nations, Métis and Inuit people in Alberta.

  • Mental health programs that serve Indigenous people

    Alberta's government supports programs focused on the mental health needs of Indigenous people across the province. In July 2021, the government pledged $8 million for mental health supports for Indigenous people.

    This funding is supporting programs like Alberta Health Services’ (AHS) Indigenous Wellness Core. AHS is also coordinating the Honouring Life grants, supporting Indigenous communities and organizations to implement community-based, life promotion projects on youth suicide prevention efforts.

    Additionally, government grants and targeted funding continues to increase Indigenous access to mental health and addiction services across the province.

  • Working with First Nations to reduce surgery wait times

    Enoch Cree Nation, in partnership with Surgical Centres Inc., is building a state-of-the-art, chartered surgical facility. The Nation is working with Alberta Health Services to offer up to 3,000 publicly funded hip and knee replacements and other joint procedures in the Edmonton area each year.

    This will be one of the first surgical facilities built on First Nation land in Canada.

  • Improving addiction treatment services for Indigenous people

    Alberta's government continues to support Indigenous addiction treatment centres and projects across the province, including building new recovery communities in Indigenous communities and expanding the number of beds at existing sites. 

    Learn more about Alberta’s recovery-oriented system of care.

  • Addressing racism in Alberta’s health-care system

    Alberta Health Services provides cultural training for its staff and works with the Health Quality Council of Alberta to compile Indigenous feedback on the patient complaint process. This guides improvements to the organizational culture of Alberta’s health system to achieve equality for all people.

    The government is creating an Indigenous Patient Complaints Investigator, along with an Elders roster, to investigate incidences of racism during the delivery of health care and to provide culturally safe support to Indigenous patients throughout the complaints process.

  • Better continuing care for Indigenous people

    Programs like the Continuing Care Capital Program, which includes an Indigenous stream, help Indigenous communities build continuing care spaces that provide culturally appropriate care.

Education

We are working to revitalize and expand opportunities to educate youth across Alberta about Indigenous history, culture and perspectives.

  • Integrating Indigenous histories, cultures and perspectives in the curriculum

    Alberta is rebalancing the education system by including the history and legacy of residential schools and local Indigenous knowledge, wisdom, and oral traditions in the curriculum to advance reconciliation for all Albertans.

  • Improving best practices in the education system

    Alberta Education’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit Division works collaboratively with Indigenous students, parents, Elders, governments, communities, organizations and other partners to strive for excellence in Indigenous education.

    Government is pursuing initiatives to support more inclusive and expansive Indigenous education for all students in Alberta. This includes regular review and updating of professional practice standards to ensure all educational professionals have knowledge and understanding of Indigenous cultures, experiences and perspectives, including the legacy of residential schools and treaties.

  • Bridging Classrooms to Communities pilot program

    Alberta’s government is providing more than $10 million for the new Bridging Classrooms to Communities pilot program. It will help Indigenous partners such as the Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association build relationships with local school authorities to advance reconciliation and support the hiring of community connection workers to strengthen student relationships with Indigenous communities.

  • Making post-secondary education more accessible for Indigenous people

    Indigenous student supports provide financial assistance in Alberta’s adult learning system.

    Other supports for Indigenous learners include:

    • Foundational Learning Assistance provides funding to First Nation colleges and other Indigenous training providers for tuition, fees, books, supplies and living allowances for upgrading, basic education and integrated training programs.
    • CAREERS: The Next Generation delivers programs such as the Indigenous Youth Careers Pathway Program, is helping Indigenous youth explore careers through school, community and industry collaboration.
    • Indigenous Post-secondary Mental Health Grant is available to First Nations Colleges and mainstream post-secondary institutions in Alberta to help promote positive mental health and accessible supports.

    Project funding is also available to help Indigenous institutions offer programs with an Indigenous focus.

  • Educating the public service

    Alberta Public Service employees are continually encouraged to complete the Indigenous Introductory Training, including front-line workers and employees of government agencies, boards, and commissions.

    An advanced Indigenous cultural protocol training course is also available. Learning about historical and contemporary Indigenous experiences and perspectives helps Alberta’s public service better represent, understand and work with Indigenous Peoples in the province.

Economy

We are collaborating with Indigenous communities to create new economic opportunities and ensure we are partners in prosperity.

  • Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation

    The Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation (AIOC) removes financial barriers to Indigenous investments by backstopping loans for major agriculture, telecommunication, transportation and natural resource development projects.

    The AIOC is a Crown Corporation that is creating sustainable revenue streams and economic growth for Indigenous communities.

  • Indigenous participation in oil and gas well cleanup

    Site Rehabilitation Program (SRP) grant funding created jobs for Indigenous people and businesses by cleaning up inactive oil and gas sites in Indigenous communities across Alberta.

    Funded by the federal government, this program was made possible by the efforts of the Alberta government, Indigenous communities, businesses, the Indigenous Roundtable and the Metis Settlements General Council.

  • Supporting economic development in Indigenous communities

    The Aboriginal Business Investment Fund (ABIF) funds eligible Indigenous community-owned economic development projects. ABIF supports capital costs for businesses that create jobs and local revenue streams in Indigenous communities.

    The Economic Stream of the Indigenous Reconciliation Initiative provides flexible funding to help Indigenous communities strengthen organizational effectiveness, address emerging issues and trends, develop human resources and explore new opportunities.

    The Northern and Regional Economic Development Program funds initiatives led by Alberta municipalities, Indigenous communities and non-profit organizations that promote regional economic development and diversification.

    The Small Community Opportunity Program provides grants for non-profits, Indigenous and small communities to help build capacity in agriculture, small business and local economic development.

  • Improving job opportunities and readiness

    The Employment Partnerships Program (EPP) is a federal-provincial partnership that funds programs that help connect Indigenous people to employment.

    Alberta also works with and supports Indigenous organizations, like the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women, that provide job readiness and retention programs to Indigenous people across the province.

Children and families

We are improving the programs and services available to Indigenous families and making the child intervention system more culturally appropriate and transparent.

  • Providing high-quality supports to Indigenous children and youth

    Government collaborates with Indigenous communities to update its policies and practices to support families in ways that connect culture, ceremony, language and history.

    If a child cannot remain safely in their own home, kinship care is always viewed as the first safe placement option to maintain connections between the child and family. A mobile Connections App provides culturally relevant tools for young Indigenous adults who are transitioning into adulthood.

    Alberta Family Resource Networks provide prevention and early intervention services that help Indigenous families remain resilient, strong and healthy by connecting them with culturally informed programs.

  • Providing training for Children’s Services employees

    The Indigenous Cultural Understanding Framework was developed and informed by Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers and is used to educate Children’s Services staff about Indigenous cultures, considerations and worldviews. This helps influence their work in a way that supports better outcomes for Indigenous youth and families.

  • Committing to open, transparent and safe service delivery

    The Alberta government shares child intervention data and information with the public. Statistics about children in care are available at the child intervention information and statistics summary.

    The government’s goal is to continuously improve systems to better support the safety and well-being of children receiving child intervention services.

  • Apologizing for the Sixties Scoop

    The Government of Alberta formally apologized to Sixties Scoop survivors and their families in 2018. Government continues to work closely with the Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Alberta to help shape how our government can meaningfully promote awareness and healing.

  • Fully implementing Jordan’s Principle

    Jordan's Principle ensures all First Nations children living in Canada can access essential products, services and supports, wherever they live.

    The agreement between the Government of Alberta, Government of Canada and First Nations Health Consortium to fully implement Jordan’s Principle in Alberta was the first of its kind in Canada. It created a process driven by First Nations leaders to help coordinate services, so there are fewer delays when a child needs support.

  • Developing culturally informed parenting programs

    Indigenous Family Resource Networks give Indigenous families access to culturally appropriate prevention and early intervention programs and services. Indigenous children and families have access to high-quality support, regardless of location. There are also designated Indigenous Parent Link Centres in the province that provide core services in the context of the Indigenous communities they are working in.

  • Providing support for Indigenous people with disabilities

    Alberta’s government provides support to the Indigenous families of children with disabilities through the Family Support for Children with Disabilities program, which is available on First Nations and Metis Settlements.

    The government continues to work with First Nations on opportunities to improve access to support. It is also working with the federal government to extend services to adults with developmental disabilities living on First Nations.

  • Addressing and preventing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

    The FASD cross-ministry committee has made Alberta a leader by supporting a coordinated response and an inclusive range of services that is respectful of community diversity.

    Alberta’s FASD Service Networks offer services to all people in Alberta, including culturally appropriate FASD support to Indigenous communities.

    The CASA First Nation program removes barriers to services and provides community-based access to support.

    The Metis Settlements FASD Network serves the 8 Metis Settlements in Alberta, ensuring Métis voices are included in the planning of programs and services. The Métis Nation of Alberta also provides ongoing FASD prevention and education programming to meet the unique needs of Métis people in Alberta.

  • Indigenous Housing Capital Program

    The Indigenous Housing Capital Program provides funding for Indigenous governments and organizations, housing providers, municipalities, and non-profits to build affordable housing. Funding is used to increase the supply of affordable off-reserve, off-settlement and on-settlement housing units for Indigenous peoples.

Culture and languages

We are preserving and celebrating Indigenous art, languages and traditions to help support healing and greater recognition of Indigenous cultures and communities.

  • Repatriating sacred ceremonial objects and access to artifacts

    The Royal Alberta Museum has been active in repatriating sacred ceremonial objects to Blackfoot First Nations with the support of a Blackfoot Confederacy Advisory Committee on Museum Relations.

    Indigenous content at the Royal Alberta Museum is presented in a variety of ways, including hundreds of objects on display, text panels translated into Indigenous languages and films that can be heard or captioned in many Indigenous languages. The museum cares for about 18,000 objects of Indigenous origin, from the mid-1800s to the present. As the collection grows, museum staff work with Indigenous people to ensure that contemporary and historic experiences are represented in the collections and in displays.

    The Royal Alberta Museum provides free admission to all Indigenous peoples.

  • Providing library access to First Nations and Metis Settlements

    The Public Library Services Branch maintains an annual grant program to help eliminate fees and provide access to the Public Library Network’s resources for people living on First Nations and Metis Settlements.

  • Honouring Indigenous place names

    Alberta’s government routinely engages with Indigenous communities to identify and adopt Indigenous place names in Alberta.

    In one example, the name of a mountain peak near Canmore was changed from Bald Eagle Peak to Anû Kathâ Îpa, which is a traditional name the Stoney Nakoda people have used for countless generations. Names that are officially changed by the province are also updated on federal databases.

  • Fostering Indigenous storytelling and cultural exchange

    The Cultural Stream of the Indigenous Reconciliation Initiative supports Indigenous-led initiatives that enhance, protect or revitalize Indigenous languages, heritage, culture and arts. It offers flexible funding that supports Indigenous communities and organizations in pursuing priorities based on their unique needs. The funding program focuses on Indigenous-led initiatives that will promote reconciliation, healing and cultural revitalization for Indigenous peoples and communities.

    Government funding has also helped Voices of the Land share stories from Indigenous people in Alberta on a respectful, community-owned digital space that is open to all library users.

  • Supporting and preserving Indigenous art

    Through the Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA), the province provides support for Indigenous arts through grants, programming and art acquisition. Indigenous Arts Individual Project Funding supports the development of individual Indigenous artists and arts administrators.

    The foundation has also taken steps to ensure there is representation of Indigenous artists in the AFA Collection.

  • Supporting Indigenous language resources

    Provincial funding helped open the Indigenous Languages Resource Centre (ILRC) at the Central Library in Calgary. Designed with Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers from Treaty 7, the ILRC is a culturally significant space to teach language and culture, share information and encourage storytelling.

    Through participation in the Education sub-table of the Blackfoot Confederacy Protocol Agreement, the Alberta government provides support for students to visit multiple locations for language and land-based learning as part of the ongoing efforts to recognize, revitalize and retain the Blackfoot language.

  • Maintaining and distributing Indigenous literature

    The Prairie Indigenous E-Book Collection is a first-of-its-kind partnership between the Alberta government and the Book Publishers of Alberta.

    Stories by Indigenous authors and writing about Indigenous culture are now easier to find. Works in this collection are available for online borrowing from local libraries in Alberta.

Legacy of residential schools

We acknowledge the harmful effect of residential schools on generations of Indigenous people and are working together to get to a place of healing.

  • Supporting community research into residential schools

    Alberta's government provided $8 million to 43 Indigenous communities and organizations through the Residential Schools Community Research Grant. This funding is supporting Indigenous-led engagement and research into the documented and undocumented deaths and burials of Indigenous children at residential school sites across Alberta.

    Learn more about residential school research and recognition

  • Supporting the mental well-being of those affected by residential schools

    The Alberta government provides targeted funding for mental health supports to help Indigenous Peoples navigate through intergenerational trauma. This included a new mental health support grant in 2021, and ongoing funding for Alberta Health Services' Indigenous Wellness Core.

  • Waiving fees for Indigenous name changes

    The Alberta government permanently waived fees for legal name changes of Indigenous people who lost their names through residential school experiences and the Sixties Scoop. Access to vital records has also been expanded, especially as it relates to eligibility for First Nation and Métis membership rights and applications for other programs and services.

  • Supporting Indigenous research efforts and access to records

    Research and location information about residential schools across Alberta has been compiled and incorporated into the Listing of Historic Resources. Government uses this database to prevent development activities from adversely affecting residential school sites.

    The Provincial Archives of Alberta supports research efforts and reaches out regularly to Indigenous researchers and organizations to build relationships and provide access to records.

    Alberta government archivists also helped develop A Reconciliation Framework for Canadian Archives as part of a national taskforce. This process has removed barriers between Indigenous record keepers and Canadian archives.

    More information is available in the Resource Guide for Researching and Recognizing Residential School Sites

Indigenous women

We are supporting the social, economic and physical well-being of Indigenous women and ensuring their voices are heard.

  • Addressing the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit Plus people (MMIWG2S+)

    Following the advice of the Alberta Joint Working Group on MMIWG, the government created the Premier’s Council on MMIWG2S+, which is recommending actions and identifying gaps that need to be addressed to eliminate gender-based violence against Indigenous people in Alberta.

    The Community Support Fund supports community-based initiatives that address violence and increase the safety and economic security of Indigenous women, girls and 2S+ people.

  • Connecting families to the services they need

    The Alberta government regularly funds initiatives that support the safety and wellbeing of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. For example, the government provides annual funding to the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women to support mental health and advocacy services, job readiness programs and more.

    Alberta’s Family Information Liaison Unit provides information and connections to services for families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

  • Providing shelters and programs that better serve Indigenous women

    Alberta supports women’s shelters that provide culturally responsive care for Indigenous families impacted by violence, including the Awo Taan Healing Lodge Society, which offers Indigenous-led holistic services guided by traditional teachings.

    Many Alberta shelters work with Elders and other respected leaders to strengthen their services through trauma-informed education and other culturally relevant training. Various Catholic Social Services shelters offer cultural connectors that support Indigenous women and children.

    The Alberta government provides grants to programs dealing with the prevention of family violence and sexual violence, including specific funding for culturally appropriate parenting programs for Indigenous families.

  • Gathering economic input from Indigenous women

    The First Nations and Métis Women’s Councils on Economic Security make recommendations for the Alberta government on policies, programs and services to improve the lives and economic security of Indigenous women, their families and communities.

Other related actions

We understand there are many paths that lead toward reconciliation, and we are taking this journey through a number of other initiatives.

  • Ensuring Indigenous input into land-use planning

    Alberta works with Indigenous communities and organizations to make informed plans around the use of land and to support Indigenous traditional uses, environmental conservation, recreation and economic development.

  • Engaging Indigenous youth through recreational and cultural activity

    Alberta's Future Leaders Program collaborates with Indigenous communities in Alberta to provide annual summer youth programs.

  • Taking action against racism in Alberta

    The Alberta government’s Anti-Racism Action Plan outlines actions that will help educate people about the value of diversity, remove systemic barriers to accessing government programs and services and ensure people in Alberta have equal access to information, resources, services and opportunities. There was Indigenous representation on the council that developed the plan.

  • Developing Indigenous-focused occupational health and safety materials

    A health and safety toolkit was developed to enhance First Nation, Métis and Inuit employer and worker awareness and knowledge of occupational health and safety (OHS) information and resources. The toolkit supplies employers and workers with the tools they need to stay healthy and safe on the job and foster a positive health and safety workplace culture.

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