Thunder Bay is looking to revamp its Aboriginal Liaison Strategy and it's asking the public what's worked — along with what hasn't.
Starting the conversation will be a challenge, however, said liaison Ann Magiskan.
"Living in Thunder Bay and being raised here for most of my life, what I've noticed over time is there's no community conversations that happen," she said. "People don't take the time just to learn a little bit about each other."
The current Aboriginal Liaison Strategy was put in place in 2010 and will be up for renewal in 2014. The city wants the public to comment on the strategy before it is renewed, so that they can tweak it accordingly. A two-day focus group meeting is in the works.
Take hate crimes more seriously
Some First Nations youth say they would rather see more direct action, instead of more talk.
"So, basically, you're just talking? Yes. Take action. That's all I have to say," said Lucille Atlookan, who has lived in Thunder Bay for four years.
She said her experiences living in the city have been tough.
"When I'm walking around — say I'm going shopping — people that work there all think I steal and … sometimes, people throw stuff out of their vehicles like eggs [and] garbage."
Atlookan said she wants the city to take hate crimes more seriously.
As the number of First Nations youth continues to grow in the city, Thunder Bay needs to revamp its strategy, Magiskan added.
"Our community is not static. It's continually evolving."
Magiskan noted city policies should reflect the current face of Thunder Bay's aboriginal community. She said there are more aboriginal people living in the city than there was three years ago — and many of these aboriginal people are youth, as the median age is about 26.
Health and education are two of the main reasons that First Nations people move to the city.