Kenjgewin Teg teach-in helps build pathway to reconciliation

M’CHIGEENG—Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute ( KTEI ) is once again hosting a Truth and Reconciliation Educational Teach-in on Friday, October 23 from noon to 4 pm and everyone is invited to attend.

Guest speakers at this year’s teach-in include Joan Riggs, a founding partner of Catalyst Research and Communications who teaches for Ryerson University and First Nations Technical Institute, and Gloria Oshkabewisens-McGregor, Mukwa Dodem (Bear Clan), one of KTEI ’s Anishinabek traditional knowledge holders.

“This is about everybody,” said Ms. Riggs about the importance of non-Native participation in the teach-in. “Justice Murray Sinclair (the head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)) has said that he feels the window for using the Truth and Reconciliation Report as a tool for change is closing.”

Ms. Riggs noted that many in the community have expressed disappointment in the lack of discussion during the current election of the issue. “I think it may be because both the NDP and the Liberals have said that they would implement the recommendations of the TRC.”

Ms. Riggs noted that one of the key elements to implementing reconciliation is to establish conversations between communities. “Those conversations are important for us to be able to learn,” she said.

As part of engaging those conversations there are significant questions that the teach-in seeks to explore including “Why is this report significant, important for Canadians? For First Nations?” “What are the major findings/recommendations that I use in my work, in my practice?” “What are potential impacts on government policy as a result of this report? For First Nations? For Canadians?”

The Truth and Reconciliation Educational Teach-in is open to everyone, but especially elders; Anishinabemowin language speakers; First Nation and non-First Nation youth; the leaders of today and tomorrow; secondary school and post-secondary students; decision-makers and front line service providers; proposal writers or employees whose work includes proposal writing; First Nation employees including chief and band council members; and municipal employees and council members.

At the teach-in, participants will discover how to connect the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation report to their work and their community; what are the current issues identified in the report and how can they use that exploration of the issue to effect positive change in their work, their own family and in their community. The teach-in will also provide insight into how the report can be used to secure the programs and services needed by the community.

The teach-in will seek to build bridges toward reconciliation through an informal lecture and discussion or series of lectures on the in-depth exploration of the issues, findings and 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

This will be the ninth educational teach-in at KTEI and previous subjects have included: Constellations: Ojibwe Legends—Speaking of the origins of the constellations from a First Nation perspective; the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; the First Nation Education Act; and We Are All Treaty People—The Foundation of Canada’s Treaty Relationships: The Legal Significance of the Royal Proclamation Act of 1763.

This is a free event that will take place at the KTEI campus in M’Chigeeng on Friday, October 23 from noon to 4 pm and attendees are urged to remember that KTEI is an eco-school and to bring their own feast bags (cutlery and plates) for the provided lunch.