We Are All Treaty People

Wîcihitowin Blanket Exercise Teaches Shared History

  • Published - 16/09/2016
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  • Posted By - City of Saskatoon
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Imagine you are a Cree hunter and you discover you can no longer track Bison because a railroad is being built. Then, the government says you have to stay put and try to feed your family; this is the experience the Wîcihitowin “blanket exercise” wants to create for participants.

“We’re hoping to teach community and business leaders more about our shared history, which continues to touch our current times,” says Gilles Dorval, Director of Aboriginal Relations with the City of Saskatoon.

“Education creates more understanding and compassion. In Saskatoon, we’ve made a lot of positive change for the inclusion of our indigenous community, but as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission demonstrated, we still have a ways to go.”

Covering more than 500 years of Indigenous peoples’ history, 40 participants took part in the interactive learning experience at the Frances Morrison Library today. Part of the Wîcihitowin (wee-CHEE-toh-win) Speaker Series, the event brings together people from Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations from in and around Saskatoon to gain greater understanding of historic and contemporary Indigenous issues.

This Wîcihitowin Speaker Series event takes place in advance of the Wîcihitowin Aboriginal Engagement Conference, October 12-13, in Saskatoon.

“Our organizing committee hopes to continue spreading the message and realizing the meaning of Wîcihitowin,” says Neal Kewistep, Manager, Our Neighbourhood Health Centre & Building Health Equity for the Saskatoon Health Region.

“That means learning from one another to build a better community and assisting organizations in responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action.”

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

“Wîcihitowin was created on the premise that by working together, we can achieve more and create a community where everyone thrives,” says Warren Isbister-Bear, Director of Aboriginal Relations for the United Way of Saskatoon. “The Reconciliation component is the participation from organizations and individuals within our community to gain an understanding of our shared history and make efforts of reconciliation.”

Follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using #Wicihitowin2016.

Wîcihitowin supports the City’s Strategic Goal of “Quality of Life” by identifying actions for enhancing Aboriginal well-being and participation in our community. For more information, visit Saskatoon.ca/aboriginalrelations.