Wicihitowin Aboriginal Engagement Conference was much more than a conference for GSU staff rep

GSU is committed to supporting, promoting and facilitating truth and reconciliation. Education and awareness are important parts of the process, so on Oct. 11 and 12 GSU staff representatives Dale Markling and Steve Torgerson attended the Wîcihitowin Aboriginal Engagement Conference in Saskatoon to learn more. 

The conference focused on Aboriginal engagement and human service delivery topics relevant to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal participants as they work toward respectful Aboriginal engagement and inclusion in community settings within the context of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action.

The goal of the conference was three-fold:

  • provide organizations with resources to authentically engage Aboriginal people as employees and volunteers;
  • support organizations working to incorporate Aboriginal values within program and service delivery settings, with the goal of creating culturally respectful organizations; and,
  • highlight Reconciliation efforts in Saskatoon.

In Steve Torgerson’s mind, calling Wicihitowin a conference diminished its full value and potential. According to Torgerson, it was more than a conference. It filled-in the story and history he knew and pushed him further than he realized he needed to go.

“Prior to attending the Wicihitowin Aboriginal Engagement Conference I thought I knew about what had happened during the 60’s scoop, what had happened at our Indian Residential schools, and what had happened to the Metis nation following the 1885 Rebellion,” Torgerson said. “Listening to the speakers at the conference and my fellow conference attendees made me realize how little I knew.”

“For me, reconciliation is listening and taking in the stories and truth that are out there, and sharing and engaging the people around me in difficult and honest discussions about what has happened to our Indigenous people and what we need to build a better relationship,” said Torgerson. “I’m looking forward to incorporating what I have learned into our educational opportunities for GSU members.”

Contact Dale Markling or Steve Torgerson for more information on the Wicihitowin conference.