Provenzano: Reconciliation and Inclusion are Part of Creating Prosperity


For centuries, the area that is now Sault Ste. Marie was a traditional gathering place for Indigenous peoples living in what are now Canada and the United States. That tradition continued after European contact, as traders and voyageurs met with and exchanged goods with Anishinaabe inhabitants. Today, Mayor Christian Provenzano feels that recapturing the spirit of being a “gathering place” is essential to Sault Ste. Marie’s future.

“Throughout this term, I’ve been a vocal advocate for the importance of working towards reconciliation with our Indigenous residents and neighbours,” said Provenzano. “I’m proud of the positive relationships I have built with the leaders of our neighbouring First Nations in Garden River and Batchewana, as well as our urban Indigenous community and our local Metis community.”

One of Mayor Provenzano’s first actions as Mayor in 2014 was to accept an invitation to visit the Sault Ste. Marie Indian Friendship Centre. At this meeting, Mayor Provenzano listened to the concerns of urban Indigenous residents and he committed to taking cultural competency training. In June of 2015, the Mayor’s Office helped fund a day-long cultural competency workshop and opened up the training to City staff, members of Council, and community members. A later education session for City Council members also took place with Batchewana First Nation.

With the Future SSM initiative reaffirming the importance of truth and reconciliation, Mayor Provenzano took the step of creating a Mayor’s Indigenous advisory circle, called the Bawating Advisory Circle. The Mayor believes that the advisory circle is another positive step forward on the path to local reconciliation.

Provenzano said, “Look at the work being done by Algoma University and Sault College. Look at what is happening with the Shingwauk Education Trust with their work on the Anishinabek Discovery Centre and the National Chiefs Library. We’re going to have Canada’s first research library that is organized and run by First Nations right here in our community. Sault Ste. Marie and our neighbouring communities have the potential to be national leaders in promoting truth and reconciliation. With the right leadership, we can be a place that other Canadian communities look to for inspiration.”

While promoting and working towards truth and reconciliation is the right thing to do from a moral standpoint, Mayor Provenzano also believes it can also lead to social – economic benefits.

“The Indigenous population is younger and growing faster compared to Canada as a whole,” said Provenzano. “We have two post-secondary institutions in Sault Ste. Marie that are committed to the success of Indigenous students, to providing a culturally appropriate learning environment, and to incorporating Indigenous-focused programming into their academic offerings. I think there is a real opportunity to market our community as a destination of choice for Indigenous students and upon graduation, encourage them to stay and join our workforce. Embracing the cause of reconciliation can only help us in this regard.”


  1. I take serious exception to the insinuation that everyone is shallow and phony with all due respect and credit in the true sense.

    Naturally, I mean within a reasonable stage of development of which there really is no cut and dry growth timing or black and white. (analogies).

    Definitely not in my mind.

    I suggest Mr. Sid do his own personal inventory .

    Furthermore, the area is clearly far from the size of a Village nor is it in some remote area of the world.

    As for the issues of Municipal Government and employees as they apply in my mind to the current CAO inclusive of all other staffing it is absolutely wrong to scapegoat them.

    It is not that I think change is not a serious need in terms of the RIGHT DIRECTION.

    That applies also to so many within the WORLD.

    Kindly do not perceive that to be an excuse at all for the situation that did not just start during these past four years.

    It is generational within the history of the City.

    I plan to maintain my claims unless someone can prove me wrong.

    • It should not be very difficult to prove insanity. What do you think? If intelligence were a requirement perhaps your gobblygook would make some sense, but alas, it shall not pass.

      • You sure are not thinking straight still with all due respect and credit in the true sense.

        I suggest you help yourself stay off the booze. No point posting in what to me seems to be still an impaired state of mind. You are embarrassing yourself. I would have sooner replied in private to deal with your insulting and abusive lying.

        My response is not about getting even at all over your public head game.

        That is the truth and I am sure of that in my mind.

        I wish you no malice or ill will at all.

        Behave, alright, please ?

        • Now you are being a bully. As well, I do not drink, never have. My mind becomes horribly impaired trying to decipher what it is you are trying to say. You are now falsely accusing me of things I have not done. I do not think I have said anything insulting to you. Some people have a difficult time distinguishing the truth from fantasy.

          • Your rebuttal is clearly not based on truth except that the booze part could be mixed up with someone else who has posted in a malicious manner. It would be an innocent oversight.

            I am not going to take the time nor do the work to see if I can find the one stands out in my mind to do with either the name of a particular kind of alcohol drink or bottle.

            It is not that I do not consider you of enough value or the issue of sufficient importance without a doubt whatsoever in my mind.

            My communication as always is without any wrong motive or purpose without any doubt at all in my mind neither about that.

  2. The city needs a real mayor but it’s a shame that no one of any substance wants to move to this remote shrinking village to fill the position. The current situation at city hall is a joke and unfortunately will be for years to come. It’s no wonder that people are leaving.

  3. I detest a lot of what has been allowed to happen within the separate and public systems.

    So called higher education is a separate issue for the purpose of this communication.

    It is not that I do not understand needed change however the unfairness is so clear to me.

    Furthermore the whole truth about the beginnings of this area is far from documented clearly anywhere.

    Besides lip service(analogy)is by far inspirational not to anyone who genuinely wants and respects real truth within reason. That is obvious to me.

    There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that my input is for no wrong motive nor improper purpose.

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