We Are All Treaty People

Senator Sinclair speaks at Heart of Treaty 6 Reconciliation Event

  • Published - 04/03/2019
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  • Posted By - OTC
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The Heart of Treaty 6 Reconciliation group organized its first major event Mar. 1, bringing Senator Murray Sinclair, the former chief commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation, to Lloydminster.

Senator Sinclair spoke to about 350 students from Lloydminster, Onion Lake Cree Nation and Frog Lake First Nation, before addressing 200 Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders from the region at the newly opened Gold Horse Casino in Lloydminster.

When speaking at the student event, Senator Sinclair shared the stage with five local First Nation and Métis Elders and Indian Residential School Survivors. Sinclair talked about negative overrepresentation and over-victimization of Indigenous people in Canada. He spoke about the history that led to the child apprehensions we see today. In Manitoba one newborn child is taken every day from their family at the hospital, he said, adding agencies with a terrible track record apprehend children every day.

“We need to stop raising children who believe in the racial inferiority of Indigenous people and the racial superiority of European people.”

Speaking directly to the youth, Sinclair said, “Reconciliation not about recreating what was in the past or what was not in the past. It is about something new.”

“It’s going to take us a while to get there. It took seven generations to create the harm through the residential schools. It will take a few generations to turn it around. We [Elders and Survivors] will do what we can, but it is up to your generation to do what you can in your time as well.”

That evening Sinclair was the keynote speaker at a Reconciliation Gala. He had a straightforward message for attendees.

“Reconciliation at its heart is simple: I want to be your friend and want you to want to be my friend. And if we’re true friends then we’ll work it out. We want our children to live beside each other in a mutually respectful relationship.”

Sinclair said there are four questions that are crucial for all children to be able to answer: Where do I come from? Where am I going? Why am I here? Who am I?

He said that for children graduating out of Indian Residential Schools, these were questions that often could not be answered.

“And if one can’t answer these questions, one is a lost soul,” he said.

“Canadian society has rejected us over and over. Canadians have been taught that Indigenous people were inferior. We can’t adopt the teachings of other people because they’re not our own.”

He said we need to create a country where both can co-exist, “where my children are allowed to be true to their identity.”

The Heart of Treaty 6 Reconciliation is a collective of members from Onion Lake Cree Nation, Lloydminster, Frog Lake First Nation, and Poundmaker Cree Nation along with OTC facilitation, discuss Truth and Reconciliation in the region. Last year 18 organizations signed a Commitment to Relationships and Trust document, agreeing to work together on education and healing. 

Read More about the event from the Meridian Source:  Senator Sinclair To Inspire Local Youth