Declaration for Raising the Villages officially presented to Inverness County

    Christine Villneff, one of the organizing team responsible for the Raising the Villages initiative, is seen here with Inverness Warden Betty Ann MacQuarrie (right). Villneff officially presented MacQuarrie with the Raising the Villages declaration.

    PORT HOOD: Visiting Inverness Municipal Council on Monday, May 7, was Christine Villneff, one of the organizing team responsible for the Raising the Villages initiative. She officially presented council with a declaration intended to make the world a better place for generations to come.

    “Raising the Villages is about coming together for our infants, and building our communities around them,” she said. “Using the infant as our North Star, we’ll build stronger communities for all.”

    The declaration commits the people of Unama’ki/Cape Breton to four principals: provide welcoming communities and spaces; foster reconciliation in action as treaty people; coordinate, connect and communicate what is needed; and make informed community decisions to strengthen the collective health of all.

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    The declaration is a partnership between the counties of Inverness and Victoria, the Town of Port Hawkesbury, Wagmatcook First Nation, and We’koqma’q First Nation.

    “Infants need to feel safe and secure, as do we all,” Villneff said. “We’re building our communities up to meet their needs [those of infants] and by doing so, we’ll meet the needs of everyone.

    “We’ll increase connections and decrease social isolation; we’ll increase access to services, and discover new ways of accessing services that we all need, thereby increasing the health of the whole society.”

    Even the economy will benefit from such an approach, she added.

    The declaration she presented was written after touching base with approximately 500 people across the area.

    “Joining together, we’re creating a network to address the needs of our communities,” Villneff said. “Our voices are together, and we’re able to address concerns and find solutions.”

    In the upcoming year, she said the goal is to strengthen the network and both the local and regional coalitions that make up that network.

    “We’re also maintaining our communications with the public and establishing welcoming spaces in each community,” she added.

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    Grant McDaniel
    Sports reporter Grant McDaniel is a Port Hood native, who after graduating from StFX University, joined The Reporter in 2001.