Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada chair Murray Sinclair will be one of the keynote speakers at this week’s Creating a New Legacy conference in Brandon.
Brandon will be the site of a national conference this week dealing with aboriginal mental health in the wake of the residential school system.
Hosted by the Brandon Friendship Centre’s Aboriginal Healing and Wellness, along with Western Regional Health Authority and other key health stakeholders and partners, the Creating a New Legacy conference is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday at the Victoria Inn.
The event is designed to promote awareness and the knowledge of healing initiatives that aim to mitigate the emotional impact and mental health problems associated with the legacy of the residential school system.
"We sincerely hope that together, we learn and attempt to break down the invisible walls that have kept many apart since the inception of residential schools," said conference chairperson Nellie Kopitz, wellness counsellor and co-ordinator of the Brandon Friendship Centre.
"We hope participants are able to push themselves out of comfort zones and into a place of new thoughts, new beliefs and a new self-awareness.
"For those who have a job in assisting residential school survivors in moving forward, we can only assist them in that process if we, ourselves, are moving forward and working together to create a new legacy."
Some of the keynote speakers include Justice Murray Sinclair, Manitoba’s first aboriginal judge and chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada; Dr. Cornelia Weiman, Canada’s first female aboriginal psychiatrist, and Mary Bartram, director of the mental health strategy for aboriginal people at the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
Theodore Fontaine, author of "Broken Circle," will be one of the panelists to explore what helps survivors of the residential schools. Brian Schoonbaert, chief operating officer of Brandon Regional Health Centre, will close the conference with his insights on working collaboratively to create a new legacy of trust and harmony.
The conference will include a diverse group of speakers from both aboriginal and non-aboriginal backgrounds.
These speakers will address the primary objectives of the conference themes such as increasing an understanding and awareness of the legacy of the residential school system; how to enhance knowledge and understanding of holistic approaches to healing; how to bridge traditional healing practices and western therapeutic treatment modalities to provide best practice; how to strengthen the ability and skills to respond to the needs of aboriginal people; and how to improve relationships between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people.
This conference is supported by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and organized by Brandon Friendship Centre, Western Region Health Authority, Brandon University, Foster Common Unity, Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, Brandon Correctional Centre and an elder from Sioux Valley Dakota Nation.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 23, 2012