While all eyes are on the federal election, history is being made in Calgary’s municipal election.
Marilyn North Peigan is the first Blackfoot woman to run for council in the city surrounded by Blackfoot communities.
“We need leadership that reflects our community,” North Peigan said adding she represents more than the Indigenous community.
North Peigan is a long-time resident of Calgary’s Ward 7, a Canadian Forces veteran and committee member of the White Goose Flying Report, a local response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
“We need to get that White Good Flying Report implemented into city hall which is supposed to be for the betterment of everybody,” she said outside of her downtown, Calgary apartment. “We still have a way to go and we have so much to tackle. I know right now the city if Calgary is ready for truth and reconciliation, it’s about understanding how to implement it that’s where we’re lacking right now.
“With that we need to start with education piece with the non-Indigenous community right now.”
Whether it’s for a municipal or federal election, North Peigan said voters have to recognize the barriers Indigenous candidates face while running for office.
“We have to deal with the racism, we have to deal with the lateral violence in our community. So, these are things and avenues that we have to really think about if we’re going to take this jump,” she says. “And those are hard decisions to make. Especially when you’re at home and you’re dealing with issues from back home.
“We’re still dealing with our own intergenerational trauma.”
While North Peigan knocks on doors to speak with voters she said she is often asked about her background and want to know whether she is “just here as an Indigenous activist.”
“I’ve had to define that to people, especially non-Indigenous when I’m door knocking and saying, ‘I’m not an activist I’m actually here for the whole community.’”
Calgarians vote for a city council on Oct. 18 .
“We need to work together. Our Indigenous people and our leaders, especially, bring that experience and that wisdom, those two worlds together,” she said. “And that’s what I’m very happy that I have right now are those two worlds.”