Manitoba

Event brings communities together to celebrate partnership of local treaties

While the third annual We Are All Treaty People event centred around music, art and food, one of its organizers said he hopes it also helped non-Indigenous people better understand their role in reconciliation.

Organizer of 3rd annual event hopes people came away ready to tackle 'questions of equity and justice'

The third annual We Are All Treaty People event centred around music, art and food, but one of its organizers said he hopes it also helped non-Indigenous people better understand their role in reconciliation. (Gavin Boutroy/CBC)

A community event at The Forks on Sunday brought Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together to celebrate the partnership of local treaties. 

And while the third annual We Are All Treaty People event centred around music, art, and food, one of its organizers said he hopes it also helped non-Indigenous people better understand their role in reconciliation.

"One of the things that we want to acknowledge is that reconciliation is not something that is just about coming together and building relationships — it's more than that," said Kerry Saner-Harvey, the Indigenous neighbourhoods program coordinator with the Mennonite Central Committee of Canada. "It's about going deeper and looking at questions of equity and justice."

Saner-Harvey said the event was focused on showing people a good time as a way to bring communities together.

"That's where we have to start. Because if we don't celebrate and have fun together, then it's hard to work toward a better future together," he said. "We're looking toward a future in which there is a better relationship, no matter what background we're from."

Clayton Sandy, an Indigenous ambassador for the Manitoba-based Circles for Reconciliation initiative, said he hopes people from different communities will get to know each other and start talking more about reconciliation. (Gavin Boutroy/CBC)

Clayton Sandy, an Indigenous ambassador for the Manitoba-based Circles for Reconciliation initiative, said he hopes events like the one on Sunday help spur people into action — especially with a federal election campaign underway.

"We have to start some place," said Sandy. "It doesn't matter what party's in charge. If we don't start talking, nothing changes, and we don't get to know each other and what direction we're going."

Raymond Currie, project coordinator for Circles for Reconciliation, said while he's seen some steps toward reconciliation in the last few years, he hopes to see more shifts in non-Indigenous people's attitudes on the subject.

"I'm cautiously optimistic. We need to keep pushing so that more is done — and there's so much more to be done," said Currie. "It's totally unrealistic, wrong to say to people, 'Just get over it.' We have to repair the damaged relationship."