Conference brings together immigrants and Indigenous people

Delegates to a Saskatoon reconciliation conference say they came away from it feeling good about a topic that can often seem hopeless.

Saskatoon reconciliation event includes leaders from more than 50 organizations

The Open Door Society's Mohammad Abushar says Indigenous people and newcomers are eager to learn about each other's cultures. (Jason Warick)

Reconciliation isn't just about the relationship between Indigenous people and those of European descent. Immigrants and refugees need to be involved as well, said the Open Door Society's Mohammad Abushar.

Abushar spoke at the Wicihitowin conference on reconciliation in Saskatoon Thursday. The session brought together newcomers and Indigenous people.

He said newcomers want to learn as much as they can about Indigenous culture, and the feeling is mutual.

"Indigenous people love to learn about other cultures because we live together and we have to come together. If you want to live together, you need to understand the other people's culture," Abushar said.

Graeme Joseph of the University of Saskatchewan says this week's Wicihitowin conference in Saskatoon reminded everyone that there are a lot of positive things happening on the issue of reconciliation. (Jason Warick)

Many of the 500 delegates said the conference made them feel good about a topic that can often seem hopeless. The University of Saskatchewan's Graeme Joseph was one of them.

Joseph was also part of the newcomer-Indigenous session. He said there's also a lot of good reconciliation work being done at the U of S but the task can often seem overwhelming.

"So I think everything you see going on in the world, sometimes it's quite negative. You come to these types of events and you see everybody coming here with a positive attitude, one that wants to bring people together. It's very hopeful," Joseph said.

The conference ran Wednesday and Thursday at TCU Place. Speakers included residential school survivor Eugene Arcand and the head of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, Ry Moran.