The ACAA strives to achieve the following principles:
sharing within the limits of our authority, information that supports the development of more effective policies and programs for Indigenous peoples;
working conjointly, when mutually, beneficial to develop and present new policies and programs to federal, provincial and municipal governments for the benefit of Indigenous communities;
encouraging and building greater cooperation between all parties and other similar organizations as the need and opportunity arises; and
promoting, where appropriate, the participation of either or all parties in any national meeting, consultation, dialogue and/or forum where issues of mutual interest will be discussed.
2020-2023 STRATEGIC PRIORITIES
We recognize that our members represent a wide cross section of urban Indigenous peoples in Alberta. With a total of 136,585 First Nations, 114,375 Metis and 2500 Inuit peoples these experiences are diverse and their contributions to our communities are strong drivers of community change, yet there is a lack of political representation at any level of government from municipal, provincial to federal. In order to address this need the ACAA Board of Directors must plan strategically to identify tangible outcomes and key objectives which reflect the needs of our members and their goals.
To ensure all Indigenous people across Alberta have equitable access, recognition and the provisions required to experience a quality of life on par with all other Albertans. Ask most Canadians what comes to mind when they think Alberta, and they’ll say ‘big oil, tar sands, cowboys and ranch hands’ but within this diverse landscape, whether it be the Assembly of First Nations, the Metis Nation of Alberta, the Metis Settlement General Council or the Aboriginal Congress of Alberta (ACAA), each share in the action of one common aspiration. That is, bring forward a body and build a platform to support, create and allow for the Indigenous Peoples of Alberta to have a voice.
The goal of ACAA is to create a strong voice within the Congress of Aboriginal People that can effectively stand on behalf of all off-reserve First Nations people of Alberta who are not otherwise affiliated or represented, and that can properly represent their needs and concerns to the Alberta Government, the Government of Canada and all other possible partners and stakeholders.
Recognized as the provincial affiliate organization for the Congress of Aboriginal People since 2006, the ACAA has been working to build a community in Alberta in which the voice of non-affiliated Indigenous peoples may be brought forward. Advocating for the resolution of shared grievances common to Indigenous people within the province, the Aboriginal Congress of Alberta works to develop forums for dialog and to facilitate possible negotiations over such issues as the failure to recognize all Indigenous people as rights bearing, the need for increased fiduciary support for non-status and urban Indigenous people, and for the integration of culturally recognized best practices in all direct services. We plan to focus on child and youth, housing and homelessness and health and wellbeing. Our goal is to host gatherings where members can participate in cultural activities, meet in a social setting and discuss issues of importance. These gatherings will be held in the three cities our board represents: Wood Buffalo, Edmonton and Calgary.
A newly developed three-year strategic plan, in which we’ve created short, medium and long-term implementation plans, will be utilized to help guide us in moving forward through these engagements with community. Upcoming events will be posted on our website and notices will be sent through our mail list. Our aim is be transparent and accountable to our members and as such, we will also be looking to introduce a member log in page which can give access to summary reports of these engagements and past minutes of all Board meetings.
While there are many matters that need to be addressed, our board of volunteers has limited capacity at present and much of the future work required is time intensive. For this reason, we have chosen our focus over the 2020-2023 time period, on issues related to housing, children’s services and justice. We chose these topics because of our belief that safe, affordable housing, along with physical and mental health are the foundation for building a strong cultural and spiritual base for personal growth.
Given that we have little capacity for programming or projects, it is our wish to support other Indigenous individuals and organizations in their work. We will act as a financial steward to those who do not qualify for funding under current regulations. As a registered non-profit, we can partner with those who are not registered but who are working on projects important to our communities. It is our hope that with your support, 2020 will bring greater unity among our members and within our organization.