The 11th annual Indigenous Justice Forum kicked off in Charlottetown on Friday with a focus on education and reconciliation.
Elder Noel Milliea, from Elsipogtog First Nation, N.B., delivered the keynote speech.
He's been working with the Parole Board of Canada for the past 18 years with a particular focus on Indigenous offender reintegration.
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He said this year's forum is focused on reconciliation and the transference of Indigenous knowledge to the public.
"My message for them today was an openness the ability for us to be able to change perceptions … through knowledge and education," Milliea said.
'My message for them today was an openness the ability for us to be able to change perceptions … through knowledge and education.' - Noel Milliea
The forum was an opportunity for the Indigenous community to be able to "breakdown those barriers" associated with racism, prejudice and discrimination.
And, he added, it provided the opportunity "for people to be able to learn the true history about who we are as a people."
The idea of learning from Indigenous groups is especially important for those who work in the justice system, Milliea said, to understand how to effectively work with Indigenous people and build relationships.
Truth and Reconciliation Act
A lot of the understanding, he added, involves building upon the Truth and Reconciliation Act.
"Truth and Reconcilation recommendations there are really amazing and really beautiful. We have to constantly keep feeding them," Milliea said.
"In our culture and our way of life one of the most important things is about relationship building, for us to always be moving forward and not going back — sometimes the fear of going back stops us from moving forward."
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