LETHBRIDGE: City council's support of renewed funding for urban aboriginal programming "speaks volumes" to the community going forward, according to a community spokesperson.
Jacinda Weiss, the executive director of the Aboriginal Council of Lethbridge made a presentation to council Monday about Canada's Urban Aboriginal Strategy, a plan set up to improve the lives of aboriginal people in designated urban centers across the country. Council voted to write a letter in support of the strategy, which is nearing the end of a $68.5 million nationwide funding commitment - earmarked in 2007 and set to expire in March 2012.
"With their letter of support it speaks volumes," said Weiss after the vote. "It just reaffirms their commitment and the relationship that they have with our community."
The Urban Aboriginal Strategy (UAS) started in 1997 with the intention of improving the lives of aboriginal people in designated urban centers. Lethbridge was listed as one of the total 13 such cities across the country in 2005. The most recent support from UAS contributed $413,797 in funding to six local programs in 2010 and 2011. The programs are geared toward life skills development, building on employment through training and entrepreneurship and supports for women, children and families.
"It [the UAS] is the strongest way to support urban aboriginal people. They've put a foundation down as far as the original strategy, but now it's a matter of really letting it grow," said Weiss. "That's where government really has to put that forward."