The City of Lethbridge and Kainai / Blood Tribe share an approximately 8 kilometer border in the southwest of the City, along the Napitahtaa (Oldman River). The connections, however, between our two communities are much more extensive. Lethbridge and Kainai / Blood Tribe are linked by a shared environment, by mutually benefiting economies and by the educational, social, cultural and other services that residents, members and visitors rely on each day. Importantly as well, as Lethbridge is located within Siksikaitsitapi (Blackfoot Confederacy) territory, our communities are connected through a shared past, present and future.
In May 2021, the Councils of the City of Lethbridge and Kainai / Blood Tribe ratified a Memoranda of Respect, Understanding and Partnership (MOU) that identifies areas of mutual interest and concern to both communities. The MOU was formalled signed by the Mayor of Lethbridge and Chief of Kainai / Blood Tribe in September, 2021. The MOU creates a formalized structure to strengthen the ability of the Councils and Administrations to work more closely together for the benefit of both communities.
A copy of the MOU can be found here.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the MOU?
In simple terms, the Memoranda of Respect, Understanding and Partnership, or MOU, is an agreement between the City of Lethbridge and Kainai / Blood Tribe that commits the Councils and Administrations to work more closely together and meet more frequently.
The MOU identifies four areas of mutual interest and concern (Health and Wellness; Economic Development and Employment; Community Planning; and Communications) and describes the creation of joint Working Committee to advance planning and advocacy in each area.
Who is the agreement between?
The MOU is an agreement between The City of Lethbridge Mayor and Council and Kainai / Blood Tribe Chief and Council.
What intent of the MOU?
The purpose of the MOU is to establish stronger communications, planning and opportunities for joint advocacy between the City of Lethbridge and Kainai / Blood Tribe to advance issue of common interest and resolve issues of common concern. This work is intended to improve the social and economic wellbeing of both communities.
What does the MOU mean for City residents and Nation members?
When neighbouring communities strive for stronger communication, coordination, planning and advocacy, ultimately it is the residents and members of those communities who benefit. The MOU creates more structure around how the parties work together and ensures that each other's interests are considered when making important decisions.
Does the MOU impact any other agreements, legislation or Treaties that the parties are signatories to?
The MOU does not impact any other agreement, legislation or Treaty that the City or Nation may be party to.
How will the MOU be implemented?
The MOU is implemented through joint Working Committees with representation from the City of Lethbridge and Kainai / Blood Tribe Administrations. Working Committees will report bi-annually to joint meetings of the Councils.
How does the MOU advance reconciliation and relationship-building?
The MOU is guided by the values of respect, understanding and strong communications and endeavors to ensure that the perspectives of each party are considered on projects where there are anticipated shared interests, be they social, cultural, environmental or economic.
The MOU is an important step in the strengthening of relationships between the City of Lethbridge and Kainai / Blood Tribe, as it ensures there are more regular communications at the levels of Council and Administration.
Stronger communications and shared understanding enhance the ability of the City to better understand and reflect the needs of Blackfoot and other Indigenous peoples in its plans, policies, programs and services.
What topics are covered by the MOU?
The MOU identifies four areas of mutual interest and cooperation:
- Health and Wellness (including Housing, Education, Justice, Racism and Discrimination)
- Economic Development and Employment
- Community Planning (including Land Use Planning, the Environment, Cultural Resources Management and Emergency Response), and
The MOU also describes mechanisms to enhance communications, which will ensure areas of mutual interest and cooperation are acted upon.