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Banff Centre hosting summit on Truth and Reconciliation

The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is leading the way locally for a community conversation on Truth and Reconciliation in the Bow Valley with a summit scheduled for the end of October.

The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is leading the way locally for a community conversation on Truth and Reconciliation in the Bow Valley with a summit scheduled for the end of October.

The Truth and Reconciliation summit will bring together 340 participants – Indigenous and non-Indigenous – from local communities and beyond to learn about and respond to the 94 Calls to Action released by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission over a year ago.

Indigenous Leadership program director Brian Calliou said the summit is one of the first in Canada to dedicate time and space to a community conversation on Truth and Reconciliation and developing an approach to repairing relationships with Aboriginal peoples across the country.

The Banff Centre has a history of keen interest in Indigenous knowledge and perspectives, Calliou said, and once the 94 Calls to Action were released the educational institution began considering what it would do in response.

He said there were no immediate opportunities to begin the discussion about Truth and Reconciliation at the Banff Centre and once the full report was released in December last year the work began for organizing this summit.

“One of the objectives of us hosting this summit is the idea of getting a small region or a community … informed on the truth and what the Truth and Reconciliation Summit is all about and the calls to action,” Calliou said.

“All Canadians are responsible for rebuilding relationships with Indigenous people. So how do we get the valley motivated and excited and engaged in doing their part?”

The Truth and Reconciliation Summit is a full-day event and Calliou said tickets available for purchase outside of the Bow Valley have already sold out.

Participants, including 150 locally selected community leaders, will participate in breakout sessions, workshops, open dialogue and facilitated discussion by Banff Centre faculty. The day also features keynote talks from Phil Fontaine, former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Kathleen Mahoney, chief negotiator for the AFN settlement agreement with Canada for the reparations and Truth and Reconciliation process, as well as commissioner Marie Wilson.

Those who attend should leave equipped with new knowledge and tools to take action and incorporate reconciliation into their own lives, families, organizations and community.

“The response has been amazing,” Calliou said. “We have 340 people that are going to come to this summit, with about 150 who are Bow Valley people from various organizations and sectors.”

Once the summit is over, however, the work at the Banff Centre does not end. Calliou said findings from the summit will help the Banff Centre determine its own approach to reconciliation and share the outcomes in a report that will help lay out first steps to take towards reconciliation.

“This is going to help us at the Centre explore how it can create its own reconciliation plan and that will feed into how we operate as a community partner with Treaty 7 communities,” he said.

The event is sold out, but the speakers will be streamed at banffcentre.ca, so those unable to attend can follow the conversation.


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