City managers learn the cost of residential schools

City of Edmonton senior management received a lesson on the legacy of residential schools Friday.

Mayor makes good on commitment made during truth and reconciliation hearings

Wab Kinew, whose father went to a residential school, hopes the session will change the way people interact with the aboriginal community in Edmonton. (CBC News)

City of Edmonton senior management received a lesson on the legacy of residential schools Friday.

Elders, students and residential school survivors talked about the horrible things that happened when people were taken from their families and forced into boarding schools.

The internal training event was a follow up from promises Mayor Don Iveson made in March when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission held hearings in Edmonton.

The idea behind the training is to show city staff the continuing impact on indigenous Edmontonians and “what that means for our work today in terms of compassion and understanding for the victims of trauma,” Iveson said.

Broadcaster Wab Kinew, whose father went to residential schools, spoke to about 200 city managers about the lasting damage of the experience on survivors.

“If the mayor is successful in realising his three priorities in educating city employees, cultivating young leaders and then creating spaces to practice First Nations and Métis culture in Edmonton, relations between the indigenous people here and the rest of the community are going to take a huge step forward.”

Managers responded well to the training session, Kinew said.

"Hopefully we're making a little bit of an impact in the way services are delivered and the way people engage with the aboriginal community here in Edmonton," he said.