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Reconciliation Leaders Gather to Put Words into Action: Third Annual Aboriginal Engagement Conference

For immediate release: October 11, 2017 - 11:45am

Community leaders are in Saskatoon this week discussing how to put the recommendations and lessons learned from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) into action.

The third annual Wîcihitowin (wee-chee-HEE’-toe-win) Aboriginal Engagement Conference on October 11-12 brings together experts and leaders from across Canada to take action on improving Aboriginal engagement and inclusion in communities.

This year’s conference theme is ‘Leadership in Reconcili-ACTION’ and focuses on how individuals and organizations can respond to the TRC’s Calls to Action.

“We’ve selected a diverse range of speakers based on their commitment to enacting the 94 Calls to Action from the TRC; those who can articulate in practical ways what’s worked in their respective fields, whether it be child welfare, justice, education, faith-based groups or sports.” says Neal Kewistep, Interim Director of Population & Public Health, Saskatoon Health Region. “They truly represent leadership in moving the reconciliation process forward in their communities.”

Conference organizers say tickets were snapped up with 500 Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal experts, leaders, youth and Elders expected to participate.

The two-day conference includes panel sessions on how youth, faith groups and business can answer the TRC’s Calls to Action, as well as a special Mayors’ Panel on Reconciliation featuring the Mayors of Saskatoon, Regina, Elbow and Warman.

Key note speakers include Shelagh Rogers, CBC journalist, Chancellor of the University of Victoria, and honourary witness to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Ry Moran, Director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and member of the Métis Nation; and Ashley Callingbull, a model and actor from the Enoch Cree Nation.

“Wîcihitowin is a safe place for people to come together to discuss reconciliation, the TRC’s Calls to Action, and for people to better understand the dark chapter of our history, “says Judy Pelly, Elder and Indian residential school survivor.  “We must not forget those that are no longer with us to witness the movement toward reconciliation. We must work together as a community to discuss these sensitive issues, and find new solutions and ways of promoting true reconciliation.”

Wîcihitowin is a Cree/Saulteaux word for “helping each other” or “working together” -- which is an important component of delivering enhanced programs and services.

The conference is presented in partnership with the United Way of Saskatoon, Aboriginal Friendship Centres of Saskatchewan, the Saskatoon Health Region, and the City of Saskatoon.

Wîcihitowin supports the City’s Strategic Goal of “Quality of Life” by identifying actions for enhancing Aboriginal well-being and participation in our community.

This initiative is made possible by the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaboration between Potash Corporation, Saskatoon Community Foundation and the Government of Canada.