Reconciliation Regina to host Connection to Reconciliation conference

Reconciliation Regina will be holding a “Connection to Reconciliation” Conference in March.

The event will focus mainly on business and entrepreneurship opportunities for First Nations people in Treaty 4 territory have, as well as allow Saskatchewan-based people, businesses and academics to explore truth and reconciliation under an economic lens.

File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council President and CEO Thomas Benjoe said right now people don’t take the time to celebrate the success stories for First Nations entrepreneurs.

“We do have, as part of some of the agenda, there’s going to be some focus on some of our indigenous communities that are in Treaty 4 (territory) that are very successful and are building businesses, creating employment opportunities, and creating a stronger pathway for our entrepreneurs.”

Mayor Michael Fougere said this will benefit all sides involved.

“We need to understand — again, from the indigenous perspective — what are the challenges they face, what are the opportunities they see, and I’ll say from the City of Regina as a government, what can we do as a government to facilitate and make sure we are gauging First Nation’s businesses for investment and job creation?” Fougere said. “At the end of the day, it’s about prosperity, growth and opportunity.”

Regina and District Chamber of Commerce CEO John Hopkins says it’s important to understand the truth about what happened in this country.

“A lot of people will say, ‘well that happened 100-150 years ago,’ but the reality is what happened back then is still impacting us today, and we need to come to terms with that fact,” Hopkins said. “As well, (we need to) understand that yes, we weren’t responsible for what happened back then, but we inherited that, so we’re responsible for what we do today.”

The provincial First Nations unemployment rate will also be a focus, as roughly 15% of First Nations people in Saskatchewan are unemployed.

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