It’s all about education.
That’s what was emphasized at the indigenous and aboriginal awareness training workshop that took place recently at the Riverbank Discovery Centre. The three-day training, which was put on by the City of Brandon and the Brandon Urban Aboriginal Peoples’ Council, involved approximately 100 City of Brandon representatives as well as several members of community organizations and stakeholder groups who took part in in-depth discussions on how to effectively engage, consult and work with indigenous and aboriginal populations.
Jason Gobeil, BUAPC coordinator, says the workshop comes on the heels of a Memorandum of Understanding that was agreed to and signed by Brandon city council and the BUAPC earlier this year, which focuses on improved education.
“We’re starting to make headway with our MOU agreement and the understanding that we’re going to try and work for a better inclusion of aboriginal business, highlighting what we need to do to make an impact on aboriginal education, and then on the other side of that, opening up opportunities for employment from our aboriginal population,” Gobeil told the Journal. “I don’t think there was enough history or education within our own school system that has given us that information to be able to proactively move forward and really have a good understanding of where our peoples are coming from.”
The training is a key part of the BUAPC’s recently released aboriginal economic strategic plan, states a release issued by the city. The plan provides steps on how to grow economic responsibility via a shared social responsibility.
“The feedback we got from the training is that we know some of the history, we know some dates, we know some historical facts, but often times, it’s just that reaffirmation of knowledge,” Gobeil added. “Because as we go out into the community, we really want to work with the community and at the same time, we all want to be culturally sensitive about where we are, what we’re saying and how we’re doing things. We don’t want to disrespect anybody.
“It just opens up that door to saying, ‘OK where are we going? What are those next steps along the journey of reconciliation,” he added.
For more information on the BUAPC aboriginal economic strategic plan, go online to buapc.ca.