On November 6, 2013, Regina Treaty Status Indian Services hosted a unique event in response to community concern over violence, crime and victimization. The Day of Healing and Discussion, held at the Gathering Place at 4001-3rd Avenue North in Regina brought together community members, frontline workers and other concerned citizens with mental health professionals, Elders, police and other resources. The day began with a Pipe Ceremony and objectives for the event included: recognition of the importance of ceremony and First Nations culture in creating strong individuals and community; acknowledgement of the impact of traumatic events on individuals, families and community; skills to help people make change in their lives; and strategies to help people live in safety.
“Right now our First Nations communities are hurting and we do need to sit down together and discuss how we can make changes”, said Vice Chief Kimberly Jonathan, of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. “Today is the perfect day to do just that and to develop community-level recommendations that foster the process of healing and positive growth. I am pleased to be part of the process and commit to being part of future actions including partnering together to provide a base for continued change.”
“We want this gathering to create community mobilization and to provide less chances of victimization for themselves and their loved ones”‘ said Erica Beaudin, Urban Services Manager, Regina Treaty Status Indian Services Inc. “We are looking forward to partnering with the Regina Police Service and other organizations to continue this process. We will continue to plan events and gatherings such as today’s in order to keep the discussion alive and flowing.”
“We felt very strongly that we needed to be part of this day to answer the questions we can and to urge people to examine their own personal safety plans”, said Chief Troy Hagen of the Regina Police Service. “We know from our experience in Regina, and in other cities across the country, that addictions play a key role in people participating in activities that place them at a higher risk. We are committed to continuing to work with partner agencies in building healthier communities.”
The day also included a Leadership Panel comprised of Vice Chief Kimberly Jonathan, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, Chief Todd Cappo from the Muscowpetung Saulteaux Nation, File Hills Qu’appelle Tribal Council’s Tribal Vice-Chair Elaine Chicoose and Chief Troy Hagen of the Regina Police Service. Among other things, panel presenters spoke about the benefit of plain and direct communication, especially when community concern is high.
The event concluded with community feedback, closing remarks and a Thank You prayer. Attendance for the Day of Healing and Discussion was higher than expected and organizers plan to continue to explore opportunities for community discussion, education and information sharing.