Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Though it had to be paused last year due to public health measures, the Journey Towards Healing and Reconciliation continues this month with Miywasin Friendship Centre.
This year’s conference is slated to be held online, starting on March 7th and continuing on until the 11th with various guest speakers and q&A sessions for both indigenous and non-indigenous attendees to help connect and understand what can be done to continue positive change.
“The most positive thing that we thought was like today, or like, or this year our slogan is ‘join us to spark change for the next seven generations.’ Because last year, we actually had Murray Sinclair attend who is, I think, the chair of the commission of national truth and reconciliation,” said Chasity Cairns, Counselor with the Miywasin Friendship Centre. “And he said that it took seven generations to get where we are as people. He said it might take seven years to bring us back to where we were, because of all the impacts of the oppressions that our people have faced and the residential school era.”
The conference will include an elder prayer to start each session, with both morning and afternoon sessions. Evening sessions are also planned for the 9th and 10th, said Cairns.
“A lot of different people will be attending. And so some of the workshops will involve the culture. And then some will be more information about, you know, what is truth and reconciliation, right. Especially like this past year. The call to actions have been known since 2016,” said Cairns.
Cairns notes that part of the focus is to help create and understanding and connection with allies, to help educate people and move away from discrimination and heal from the effects of residential schools.
“The big thing is to prevent something like this from happening again, and to create an understanding, to try to create an inclusive world. First Nations, indigenous people are the first first people in Canada, arrayed before Canada was even Canada,” said Cairns. “And so there’s still a lot of oppression that our people face today, and it’s just important for our next generations to create a better place for them. It’s for everybody to attend a learning experience. We’re gonna actually have musicians attending as well like to play in between. And, yeah, so it’s usually some of them will be interactive, even though it’s online. And, yeah, we’re going to try to make it a pretty positive learning experience.”
Speakers for the event include Whitney Ogle with What is the “Truth” in Truth and Reconciliation, Stephanie Harpe on Missing, Murdered, and Exploited Indigenous Peoples, and Sharon McKay with an overview of traditional skirt making and why the practice is important. Elder Charlie Fox, Elder Dan Fox, and many others will be offering their wisdom and experience.
Information regarding the conference can be found at miywasincentre.net/healingreconciliationconference, where interested individuals can also register for the various available sessions. The conference is free for all who wish to attend, said Cairns.