There will soon be a new member at the council table at Ottawa’s City Hall.

Councillors voted unanimously Wednesday to create a seat at Council for an Anishnabe Algonquin elder to consult and be part of the discussions.

The city says this is "an action that was identified by Anishinabe Algonquin Nation representatives as part of the development of the Protocol."

The elder will act as an "honorary adviser" with a "symbolic presence" on matters that concern the Anishinabe Algonquin Nation.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says, "It is more than a gesture; it is allowing an individual to come and sit at the table as an equal."

Watson says, "I think it is a very innovative way of trying to bridge the divide between First Nations and other residents in our community, we live and serve on their land and I think it would be very helpful to have their perspective at council meetings and perhaps committee meetings."

The Mayor says the position is still in early the stages of developing.

"(There are) lots of logistics to work out, in terms of who do we chose, how is that selection process- that will be done by the new council. You saw a unanimous vote (at council) – to move forward in that direction."

"It is that genuine working together," Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg chief Dylan Whiteduck says.

"I am ecstatic, the fact that the city has taken a really good positive step forward in regards to reconciliation. It is a very monumental movement, and I am very proud of the city, and the council and the mayor for unanimously adopting this," says Whiteduck.

Whiteduck adds, "In the past it hasn’t been somewhat of a good relationship, but this is the foundation, a stepping stone, to strengthen the relationship between the Algonquin people and the city of Ottawa."

The position is considered an ex-officio designation; therefore, the member will not vote at City Council.

Algonquin elder Claudette Commanda says she is concerned that the role doesn’t go far enough because the elder will not have a vote.

"This is good, it is a start," Commanda says. "It cannot be tokenism. It cannot be for the simple fact for saying ‘ok’ I am going to put a checkmark on my reconciliation report card.

"If you are true to your word and there is going to be a seat at the table for an Algonquin person… That person needs to have the same power and same authority than any other council member at the table."

Commanda also wants to make sure the elder can be involved in political discussions as well.

"We are much more than providing advice and guidance on art or cultural activities. We need to be involved in the political protocols."

The specifics surrounding the elder’s role still needs to be determined, including the selection process. The city says there will be future discussions. The mayor hopes the role is in place by the next term of council.