It was more than just local community leaders who turned out for Friday’s talk by University of Winnipeg Indigenous Affairs vice-president Kevin Lamoureux.
The presentation, titled “Reconciliation as a Relationship,’ also drew attendance from Russell Mirasty, Saskatchewan’s first Indigenous lieutenant-governor.
Mirasty’s role at the talk wasn’t an official one. Instead, he was there to listen like everyone else, and what he heard hit home.
“It’s very meaningful for me, as a First Nations person,” he said afterwards. “In my role as lieutenant-governor reconciliation is something that obviously is important as well, so on two-levels the message hit home.”
“It’s a very important topic, and it’s great to see the number of people out here,” he added. “That, in itself, is important.”
While there were lots of positives on Friday, Mirasty emphasized that Saskatchewan residents need to keep the issue of reconciliation in the spotlight. He hopes people will reflect on the 94 calls to action, as Lamoureux advised them to do, and then begin looking at ways to improve Indigenous and non-Indigenous relationships in Saskatchewan.
Like Lamoureux, he’s encouraged by the response he’s seen at events like this one in Prince Albert, and optimistic about the future.
“I’ve always been optimistic, otherwise I wouldn’t be where I am, in my previous career as well as being fortunate enough to be appointed to this role,” said Mirasty, who previously served as the RCMP F Division Commander before being named Saskatchewan’s lieutenant-governor.
“Seeing people from all communities come together and at least listen, that conversation is what is important. That conversation will lead to better understanding, and hopefully, to where reconciliation needs to be.”