A new course is teaching addiction and poverty counsellors in Edmonton about the issues facing their aboriginal clients.

The half-day training is run by crime prevention group REACH Edmonton.

Patti Laboucane Benson, who helps oversee the workshops, says aboriginal history hasn’t been taught properly or at all in Canadian schools.

“As a result we don't know each other,” she said. “And my goal is to open up a dialogue that can promote relationship.”

Dozens of workers from agencies around the city have already participated.

Victim advocate Karah Hawkins received training in April along with her team at the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation.

She recalls one of the clients she helped last week.

“It made me think, what had her parents been through? What had her grandparents been through for her to be treated in that way?” she asked.

Legal Aid Alberta is training all of its staff.

Mayor Don Iveson announced in March at the Truth and Reconciliation hearings that all 11,000 city staff would take part in aboriginal educational workshops.

A city spokesperson says those sessions will start this fall.