Rural Reconciliation Committee brings together diverse groups
- Jeanelle Mandes | June 12, 2020
The Prairie Rivers Reconciliation Committee (PRRC) is a partnership of diverse peoples, organizations, and communities from different cultures to achieve reconciliation and is committed to creating inclusivity by building strong relationships through education and by relearning shared historical truth.
The PRRC partnership consists of over 50 members which include representatives from the communities of Warman, Martensville, One Arrow First Nation, Mistawasis First Nation, Corman Park, Osler, Aberdeen, Rosthern, representatives from different organizations such as Great Plains College, Mennonite Central Committee, Prairie Spirit School Division, Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority, Station Arts Centre, the RCMP, Federated Co-operatives Limited, SK Health Authority, Dakota Dunes Community Development Corporation, Batoche National Historic Site, Misty Ventures, Lakeland District for Sport, Culture and Recreation, Prairie Central District for Sport, Culture and Recreation and Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association.
The PRRC was established in January 2018 and a Reconciliation Declaration Signing took place in One Arrow First Nation on February 6, 2020.
“We talked as a group what are our commitments to this committee and [what] the organizations can take back to their businesses,” said PRRC Co-Coordinator Charmain Laroque. “We needed a formal commitment so we as a group spearheaded the [Reconciliation Declaration Signing]. We got the inspiration from the heart of Treaty 6 Reconciliation group which is based out of Lloydminster where they had done a similar declaration signing. That was the spark of this conversation and everyone unanimously said yes.”
Laroque from Duck Lake said their committee has been doing a lot of work around reconciliation and are proud of the achievements the PRRC has made so far.
“I’m very proud of our Reconciliation Committee,” said Laroque. “We’re the only rural Reconciliation groups in Saskatchewan and I think that’s important. I know rural communities struggle with understanding [Indigenous] history and where we are today. That is something we are proud of.”
The PRRC has hosted two annual conferences in Warman and Martensville called – Rural Reconciliation: Educational Gathering where they had hundreds of attendees. During committee meetings, the PRRC has participated in an anti-racist education workshop, learned more about the ConnectR project, heard teachings on the pipe ceremony, learned about the history of One Arrow First Nation, participating in Orange Shirt on September 30th, hosting a presentation on Canada’s history in Osler, and more.
Last month, the PRRC was honored with the ‘Reconciliation Award’ from Affinity Credit Union, the Saskatchewan Economic Development Authority (SEDA), and the Saskatchewan First Nations Economic Development Network (SFNEDN). This award recognizes reconciliation work where municipalities and First Nations are working together.
“We hope to continue to grow and build stronger membership,” said Laroque. “Everyone’s had the opportunity to step up and lead some of the work. We are hoping to see more of our communities to host their own educational events and to spread awareness on Reconciliation and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls To Action in their community.”
Members of the PRRC meet once a month but with COVID-19 restrictions, their meetings have turned to virtual conversations. They hope to engage in more events and activities surrounding Reconciliation for years to come.