Reclaiming Our Knowledge Conference 2017
The third annual Reclaiming Our Knowledge conference went from Tuesday January 24 to Thursday January 26, 2017, at the Howard Buffalo Memorial Centre (HBMC). The speakers were as follows: Jerry Saddleback Sr., Dennis Omeasoo, Samson Cree Wellness (SCN) Program, Colleen Buffalo, Janet Fox, Beverly Swampy, Ermineskin Junior High School (EJHS) Students, Linda Whitebear, Adele Bull, Kristee Buffalo, Jackie Swaren, David C. Loree, Beatrice Okeymow, Wendy Buffalo, Sheri McGilvery, Clint Morin, and Lowa Beebe. The Keynote speakers were: Wilton Littlechild, Ph.D.; Reggie Leach, NHL Stanley Cup winner in 1975. The mornings started with prayer led by Cecil Crier and Ida Bull. The two Master of Ceremonies (MC’s) were Bryan Lightning and Donna Potts-Johnson. On day one, opening remarks in Cree were led by Montana Chief Darrel Strongman and he welcomed everyone to the conference. Following that the keynote speaker was Wilton Littlechild Ph.D. Dr. Littlechild had many stories to share with the people. Wilton talked about the effects that the residential schools had on the people who attended them and the legacy it left behind. He talked about his time on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and his trip throughout the country listening to stories from residential school survivors. He noted that personally, he managed to get through the school by participating in sports. Healing, Dr. Littlechild mentioned, is the direction the people must go in order to become healthy. Another improvement he talked about is the Maskwacis Cree Declaration that was initiated last year to revive the language in our nation. Another improvement in the community that Dr. Littlechild noted is that Maskwacis has 1800 post secondary graduates and 7 lawyers since the Ermineskin residential school closed in 1984. When Wilton was finished, Councillor Larron Norhtwest presented him with a gift. Day two saw Reggie Leach speaking in the morning. Reggie grew up in Riverton, Manitoba as a young First Nations man and eventually made it to the National Hockey League (NHL). Reggie took the Stanley Cup in 1975 with the Philadelphia Flyers along with many other hockey awards. Reggie now resides on his home reserve in Barrens River First Nation, Manitoba and has two children, Brandie and Jamie. Jamie also won the Stanley Cup in 1992 and to this day the father and son team are the only Aboriginal people to win the Stanley Cup at different times. Reggie recommended to hockey parents to participate in their childrens activity and not to live hockey through their kids. He also noted that aboriginal children are natural hockey players and that we will soon be seeing more of our youth in the NHL. After the presentation, Reggie mentioned that he has to go up to Yellowknife, NWT, to do a hockey school for some aboriginal youth up there. That’s what Reggie continues to this day, talking to aboriginal youth with a positive message. On the last day, participants went directly to the break out sessions in the Howard Buffalo Memorial Centre (HBMC) and the Friendship Centre next door. Thank you to the Sponsors: Peace Hills Insurance, Kindermorgan, AHP Engineering Ltd., Par Can Developments, Samson Management Ltd., Lucky Dollar Foods, Meyers Norris Penny (MNP) LLP, Indian Resource Council, St. Eugene, Universal Travel, Arvid Pederson, Samson Socioeconomic Development, Integrated Family Services, Youth & Sports Development, Income Support and Community Wellness. Thank you to the all people who organized the conference, the speakers, volunteers, and the Health Canada Health Support Workers who attended the conference from all over Alberta.