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White Goose Flying Report Calls to Action

What and why?

The White Goose Flying Report was written in 2016 by the Calgary Aboriginal Urban Advisory Committee, an advisory committee to Calgary City Council. The report is named after an Indian Industrial School student who died while attending the St. Dunstan’s Indian Industrial School; his name was Jack White Goose Flying.

Jack White Goose Flying’s remains were discovered in 1956 at the St. Dunstan’s site. Calgary historian Hugh Dempsey, son-in-law to Senator James Gladstone, began the process of identifying whose remains were found. Senator James Gladstone also attended the St. Dunstan’s Indian Industrial School; Senator “Gladstone devoted most of his life to the betterment of Indigenous peoples in Canada and was appointed the country’s first senator with Indian Status” (Source). Dempsey maintained Jack White Goose Flying’s grave from 1956 until 1971. In 1971, Jack’s remains were moved to the Queen’s Park Cemetery.

There are 94 Calls-To-Action in the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s report. The White Goose Flying Report sorted those 94 Truth & Reconciliation calls-to-action into 43 calls-to-action that The City could directly implement or support implemention. The City of Calgary’s Indigenous Relations Office was created to support The City with the advancement of truth and reconciliation, as outlined in the White Goose Flying Report and Indigenous Policy.

The Four Major Areas of Work

To advance Reconciliation in The City, the Indigenous Relations Office has framed their approach into four major areas of work:

1. The Indigenous Gathering Place

a. IRO staff are involved with the Indigenous Gathering Place Committee.

b. The Indigenous Gathering Place is important because, according to their website, “There are over 500 places in Calgary devoted to cultures and spirituality…and not one is specifically dedicated for Indigenous people’s ceremonial practices.” (

2. The City’s ReconciliACTION Plan

a. The City has made progress in several areas of the White Goose Flying Report. But there is still more it can do.

b. A ReconciliACTION Plan will support The City in further advancing the recommendations in the White Goose Flying Report.

c. The development of The City’s ReconciliACTION Plan is in early stages. The Indigenous Relations Office has started with an environmental scan of municipal reconciliation strategies. We want to learn about the processes other cities have taken in the development and implementation of their reconciliation strategies.

d. For example, we have learned that The City of Montreal’s Reconciliation Strategy began with consultation of over 30 Indigenous organizations and groups that shared their visions of reconciliation. The consultation led to the development of 7 strategic objectives with commitments attached to each objective.

e. In addition to looking at what other cities have done, our scan also includes other resources like the Reconciliation Wayfinding developed by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and pathways to reconciliation resources produced by the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and the Federation of Canadian municipalities.

f. With respect to upcoming activities, IRO intends to convene a Reconciliation Committee consisting of internal and external Indigenous and non-Indigenous representatives that will contribute to the development and implementation of the ReconciliACTION Plan.

3. Creating an Indigenous Governance model

a. During the engagement phase of the creation of the Indigenous Relations Office, The City heard from the Indigenous community that The City should create an Indigenous Relations Governance Model.

b. The Calgary Indigenous Relations Office decided to begin the engagement with Elders as they carry the oral history of traditional Indigenous governance principles and processes.

c. The Elders’ Knowledge Circle is supported by the Calgary United Way and consists of Elders from the Treaty 7 Nations, Métis Nation and the Calgary urban Indigenous community.

d. In February 2020, the Indigenous Relations Office, with the support of the Engage Resource Unit, engaged 28 Elders from the Elders’ Knowledge Circle.

e. The Indigenous Relations Office also engaged with members from the three Blackfoot Nations and members from the 3 Stoney Nations, and will engage members from Tsuutina and the Metis Nation in Q2, 2022.

f. Our engagement with the Elders’ Knowledge Circle produced some key learnings:

i. First, Elders are fundamental to Indigenous relations governance at The City as they carry traditional knowledge and can inform City policy. It is important for The City to build relationships, so that Elders validated by the community are selected to participate in the governance of Indigenous relations at The City. An Indigenous relations governance model will be incomplete without the participation of Elders. 

ii. The second key learning pertains to Indigenous Natural Law and Ethical Space. Natural law is grounded in instructions from the Creator that tell people how to conduct themselves, and guides the fulfillment of their roles and responsibilities. Ethical space is the space between two distinct cultures that enables them to understand each other, work together and make mutually beneficial decisions. The co-creation and implementation of an Indigenous relations governance model must take place in an ethical space and be guided by Indigenous natural law.

iii. Third was about City Relationships. An Elder that participated in the engagement said, “We are all here because of Treaty. We are partners.” The City’s creation and maintenance of relationships will allow it to work more effectively with Elders. There is no relationship if one party is not aware of who the other party is. If Indigenous natural law and ethical space provide the framework for Indigenous governance, strengthening The City’s relationships with Indigenous leaders is the process that will support the creation of the model.

iv. The fourth learning was Indigenous Values, Principles, Protocols. Indigenous values, such as respect, emphasize Indigenous worldviews. Principles, like showing respect, help build relationships. Protocols are codes of conduct that Indigenous people follow. Indigenous values, principles and protocols are the foundation of Indigenous governance.

g. The Calgary IRO also engaged the Blackfoot Nations.

4. Facilitating the creation of an Indian Residential School Memorial

a. IRO staff are currently chartering the Indian Residential School Memorial Project.

b. An Indian Residential School Memorial is important for a whole number of reasons. We need to honour those children that did not make it home. Based on the records compiled by the Truth & Reconciliation Commission, there were 2,882 Indigenous children’s names that were recorded; it has been estimated that the total number of children that didn’t make it home was over 6,500. (

The City of Calgary’s Progress

In the White Goose Flying Report, CAUAC offered 3 categories of recommendations: own, partner and encourage. ​

The Own category is where the municipality is primarily responsible.  It includes corporate-wide priority actions that require investment and implementation.

The action under the OWN category calls on The City to drive the implementation of reconciliation through a multi-year, multi-pronged approach. ​

The Own section contains 5 streams, each with Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) calls to action for a total of 18. The five streams include: ​

Stream A: Public Awareness and Training

TRC Call to Action White Goose Flying Recommendation Related Activities


Support awareness training to public sector staff

Review current HR practices, policies and training programs, and find resources for developing awareness and training programmes for all City staff on Truth and Reconciliation.

Indigenous Relations Office (IRO):    

  • Delivers training programs on topics related to Truth and Reconciliation to a variety of City staff including an all-employee Indigenous Awareness online platform.
  • Has produced a pronunciation video of basic phrases in Treaty 7 Nation and Metis languages; and a Treaty 7, Metis, Urban Indigenous awareness guide.
  • Advises business units on land acknowledgement and cultural protocols.
  • Has planned and delivered awareness events including Aboriginal Awareness Week Opening Ceremonies and Orange Shirt Day.

#62 i:

Develop curriculum for school children

Encourage the Calgary Board of Education, the Calgary Catholic School District and charter schools (K-12) to examine and remedy their own systemic and institutional practices, and use this knowledge to design programs and services to ensure Indigenous student success, as well as non-Indigenous student empathy.

  • City Hall School is developing a plan to incorporate Indigenous education in its curriculum. The plan will include the overall implementation of the Calls to Action.
  • Collaborated with Safe and Caring Schools for Orange Shirt Day at City Hall
  • Community Social Workers offered two Indigenous summer programmes in Dover and Bowness that involved hosting Elders, playing cultural games, and establishing links to Indigenous partners and traditional knowledge keepers.
  • Parks and Recreation developed on-line at home learning activities for school children on Treaty 7 topics.   

#69 iii:

Support public awareness programming in libraries, museums, and archives

Calgary Public Library – Inspire stories, and through its work with community partners, including the Heritage Triangle, coordinate and collaborate on exhibits and programming about the true history and legacy of Indian residential schools, in and surrounding Calgary.

Calgary Public Library has:

  • Issued an expression of interest for Indigenous artists, developed land acknowledgement training, has an Indigenous resources center and worked with Treaty 7 authors to write children’s books in their own Indigenous languages.
  • Hired Indigenous Staff responsible for connecting, consulting and collaborating with Calgary and area Indigenous communities.
  • Worked with partners to promote residential school history awareness, Orange Shirt Day, Witness Blanket, and other events.
  • Partnered with Bow Valley and local Indigenous people to host Indigenous events at the libraries on an ongoing basis.


Create new immigrant’s information kits

Calgary Neighbourhoods – Develop a TRC handout for new immigrants and distribute it to immigrant serving agencies.
  • Community Social Workers worked with newcomer groups to look at the history of colonialism and intergeneration trauma.
  • Community Social Workers are in discussions with newcomer agencies for the development and resourcing of Indigenous awareness/TRC toolkits.
  • Calgary Local Immigration Partnership (CLIP) has been amplifying Indigenous awareness activities undertaken by newcomer agencies and has been including Indigenous perspectives in their work.

Stream B: Spiritual Healing, Culture, Arts Commemoration

TRC Call to Action White Goose Flying Recommendation Related Activities


Fund a healing center



Recognize value of healing practices


#48 ii:

Enhance self-determination in spiritual matters

Work collaboratively to seek real estate, appropriate infrastructure, public buildings, gardens and parkland for Indigenous ceremonial, cultural, commemorative activities, as well as healing. 

  • The City and the Indigenous Gathering Place Society have entered an MOU where the parties agree to work together to establish an Indigenous Gathering Place where “we will share, connect, heal, renew and celebrate Indigenous cultures.”
  • Parks is working on completing the culturally significant areas/traditional land use inventory/story collection that will help inform park management and amenities to support Calls to Action #22 and #48.


Create school site commemoration and framework



Establish monument

Acknowledge and respect Calgary’s Indigenous archaeological sites.
  • Parks and Public Art are collaborating on ways to advance the establishment of a monument for the St. Dunstan’s school site as well as Parks Public Art program that focusses on Calls to Action #82 and #83. 
  • Planning & Development created an Indigenous engagement framework and piloted this framework in several local area plans (i.e. Beltline, Ricardo Ranch). 
  • Resilience and Infrastructure is leading a coordinated effort with targeted Business Units on Duty to Consult projects to streamline the work and provide input to revisions to Provincial policies.


Create collaborative art that contributes to reconciliation

Identify principles of reconciliation in vetting processes for projects (including commissions and art installations) throughout the city, pertaining to Indian residential school and other types of cultural commemoration.
  • Public Art hired an Indigenous Curator and formed an Indigenous advisory committee known as the Moh’kinstiss Public Art Guiding Circle to advise on Public Art’s implementation of the TRC and recommend ways in which the Public Art program can decolonize.
  • Public Art has an Indigenous Artist in residence program, supporting projects and events for Aboriginal artists as per Cultural Plan, including 8 new Indigenous Public Art projects in collaboration with Calgary Arts Development.

Stream C: Leadership-to-Leadership Relations

TRC Call to Action White Goose Flying Recommendation Related Activities

#45 iii:

Reaffirm and renew Treaty relationships, and maintain them for the future (see Appendix E for Proclamation)

Calgary Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee works further with Council to create the conditions for mutual respect and sustained collaboration on matters impacting Treaty relations and Indigenous peoples living in Calgary and area.

Display a Treaty 7 flag at the Municipal Complex.

  • Council approved the Indigenous Policy in 2016.
  • Treaty 7 flag was raised in front of City Hall in 2016.
  • Langevin Bridge was renamed the Reconciliation Bridge in 2018, with full representation and participation of Indigenous leaders and community members. 
  • Treaty 7 Nations and Metis Nation Region 3 Flags were displayed in Council chambers in 2019.
  • Discussions are ongoing with City Clerks to add a Metis Flag to the flag bank outside of City Hall.
  • Meeting rooms on the 11th floor of the municipal building were given Treaty 7 and Metis Names in 2019.
  • Council implemented its commitment to leadership-to-leadership relations by meeting/lunching with Treaty 7 Chiefs.
  • Council directed Administration to work with the Indigenous Community to co-create an Indigenous governance model for The City. 
  • Indigenous Relations Office is working with Metis Nation Region 3 on developing a Policy Guide specific to their Nation. 

Stream D: Cemeteries & Records

TRC Call to Action White Goose Flying Recommendation Related Activities


Investigate School Cemeteries



Deliver records

Corporate Records (Archives) and Calgary Parks (Cemeteries) engaged and this work has been completed.


  • Calgary Neighbourhoods conducted research into the one residential school in Calgary, St. Dunstan’s. Only one known grave site was discovered. 
  • Delivery of records occurred under the direction of Calgary Neighbourhoods.

Stream E: Athletic Development and Heritage

TRC Call to Action White Goose Flying Recommendation Related Activities


Celebrate Indigenous athletics history



Enhance athletic development



Deepen policies to promote physical activity



Establish stable funding, programs for coaches, anti-racism awareness

Calgary Recreation and partners explore internally how to incorporate Indigenous content into the design and delivery of recreation/sports programs, services and facilities, specifically:

  • Historical contribution of Indigenous athletes in and around Calgary.
  • Internal practices that could present barriers to participation.

Calgary Recreation and partners explore barriers to long-term Indigenous athlete development and growth (as per The City's role in recreational/introductory stages of Long-Term Athlete Development).

Calgary Recreation and partners explore how to enhance Indigenous participation via policies, programs and initiatives including, but not limited to, anti-racism awareness and training programs. 

  • The Sport for Life Policy was approved by Council in May 2018. The Policy recognizes The City’s role, in coordination with partners, to remove barriers that prevent under-represented groups (such as Indigenous peoples) from participating and enjoying sport, as well as the equitable, inclusive and accessible provision of sport programs and initiatives.