Lighting the path forward


Senator Murray Sinclair headlines Vital Conversation
Senator Murray Sinclair, hosts Ashley Richard and Tanjit Nagra, and Foundation CEO Rick Frost.

On March 25, almost 250 people gathered at the University of Winnipeg’s Riddell Hall for a Vital Conversation; to hear Senator Murray Sinclair speak about the history of Indigenous people and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada’s Calls to Action.

The Vital Conversation was held in partnership with the Sacred Seven Youth Council, the elected community youth council for Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre.

The evening began with an opening by Elder and Traditional Knowledge Keeper, Dr. Myra Laramee, and followed by a keynote from Senator Sinclair. Senator Sinclair was appointed to the Canadian Senate in 2016 and previously served as the Commissioner of the TRC. During the evening he shared his experiences on the TRC and talked about Canadian history and the bias and racism that continues in Canadian society, and gave everyday examples of reconciliation in action. He answered questions about his motivations and shared his lived experiences through stories and humor.

The Senator closed his keynote by talking about the importance of remembering our true history, the importance of a national memory of the residential school system, and the importance of dedicating ourselves to changing the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

The evening hosts were Youth in Philanthropy alumna Tanjit Nagra, and Chair of the Advisory Council of The Winnipeg Foundation’s Walking Together Youth Reconciliation Grants, Ashley Richard.

What you said

We asked people to share their biggest takeaway of the evening with the Senator. Here’s a sample of what participants said:

“Know yourself and your history, which play a role in determining your future”

“My biggest takeaway is the importance of honouring the names given to us by our parents. Though the names came out of colonization they were given to us out of love by our parents. I have always believed this about my name. It’s refreshing to hear both Elder Myra and Senator Sinclair agree with this and encourage us all to honour our parents in this way. I really enjoyed the humour Senator Sinclair and Elder Myra brought to the event.”

“To care for our earth. To not be greedy. And to treat one another as friends. Truly a blessing to hear Senator Sinclair speak.”

This story is featured in the Summer 2019 issue of our Working Together magazine. Download or view the full issue on our Publications page.

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