The traditional Blackfoot greeting "Oki" has now been adopted as the official greeting of the City of Lethbridge.
City Council voted unanimously in favour of passing the official business resolution brought forward by Mayor Chris Spearman. The adoption of the greeting is an important step towards honouring the original peoples of the land the city is built on says Mayor Chris Spearman.
"What better way to kick-off Reconciliation Week in Lethbridge than by recognizing the traditional Blackfoot greeting as our city welcome," says Spearman. "As we move towards deepening reconciliation in our own community, it is important to acknowledge how big of a role language plays in continuing the Blackfoot culture in our city."
The United Nations declared 2019 the Year of Indigenous Language and acknowledges there are more than 70 Indigenous languages across 12 language groups currently spoken in Canada. Blackfoot is the most widely spoken Indigenous language in Lethbridge.
Language plays an important role in the way connections are made with one another. Key amongst those connections includes transfer of knowledge, celebration of culture and welcoming those from outside the community.
Further to the adoption of Oki as the official greeting, City Council instructed administration to prepare a submission to the next Capital Improvement Program to identify opportunities to incorporate Blackfoot and where appropriate other Indigenous languages within City facilities, parks and neighbourhoods for Council's consideration.
Reconciliation Week is in its third year in the City of Lethbridge and is organized by RLAC. The 15-member advisory committee was established by City Council in 2018 and includes representation from the Lethbridge Indigenous Sharing Network (LISN), City Council, the business sector, the education sector and community members at-large. The majority of members on RLAC identify as Indigenous.
A full list of events and information can be found by visiting www.lethbridge.ca/reconciliation.
For Public Inquiries:
Call 311 | Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
City of Lethbridge