04/25/2017 18:41 EDT | Updated 04/26/2017 12:23 EDT

Saskatchewan mayor apologizes to indigenous leader for past prejudice

ELBOW, Sask. — An aboriginal leader in Saskatchewan is praising an apology issued by the mayor of the small community of Elbow, who says he's sorry for how he's thought of indigenous people in the past.

Rob Hundeby was in Saskatoon on Tuesday afternoon to sign a memorandum of understanding with Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations.

They want to start a new education initiative in the community to help teach youth and elected officials about racial inclusion and move toward reconciliation.

Hundeby said when he was growing up, the stereotype of indigenous people was that they were lazy and didn't want jobs.

Hundeby said the birth of his children and re-examining his Christian faith led to a shift in thinking, and he now knows he was wrong.

Cameron commended Hundeby for the apology, saying it took a lot of heart and courage.

"You can't have hatred boil up," Hundeby said. "You have to seek forgiveness, whether you've been wronged or you wronged somebody else."

Cameron said Hundeby approached him after hearing his speech about reconciliation to the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association.

Cameron encouraged the mayor to make his apology a public one.

While Elbow town council unanimously approved the signing, Hundeby doesn't know how his constituents will react.

"I don't know how this is going to be perceived," he said. "It's a leap of faith."

Elbow is 133 kilometres southeast of Saskatoon.