Interactive reconciliation project launched in Saskatoon
- EFN Staff | January 28, 2019
The desire to help people on a journey of reconciliation saw a committee of people from Reconciliation Saskatoon create the ConnectR website, which launched January 22.
“ConnectR was designed to help people connect with resources, help them find personal calls to action that related to their interests and their lives because we knew to get people taking this kind of action, we needed to relate to who they are as individuals,” said Carrie Catherine, one of the committee coordinators during the event.
Elder and Residential School Survivor Gilbert Kewistep was involved in the website design, which he said came from the desire to make “life better for everyone.”
“To have this type of initiative moving forward, with the backing of our Elders and the old ones, and our leaders, I feel like we have a break through,” he said.
“I’m glad I’m a part of this.”
Throughout the process of creating the website Elders and Survivors emphasized the need to engage youth with reconciliation, Catherine said.
The youth champion initiative was created with this in mind.
“I have the honour of working with six diverse youth. They really believe in the mission of nation-wide healing and reconciliation,” said Betty Pewapsconias, the ConnectR youth champion coordinator.
“We to find ways to incorporate the calls to action in our lives and work to impower and encourage the Saskatoon community to do the same,” she said.
The youth want to build partnerships in the community and will support each other on their own journeys of reconciliation using the ConnectR site as a tool, Pewapsconias said.
Their experiences are set to be shared through social media, film and events.
“I want to ensure that this world will be safe for when I am no longer here,” Pewapsconias said, about why this work is important to her.
During the launch, Saskatoon’s mayor Charlie Clark, talked about design; how picking a pathway encourages people to take the next steps towards reconciliation.
“There are some brilliant resources on the website, just the simple step that each person can take,” he said.
Catherine said that while the site is a tool, it alone cannot create Reconciliation.
“ConnectR can also help us be with each other in a room. If it’s just a website, left to its own devices it’s not enough to achieve reconciliation,” she said.
“What it needs is for us to interact, really build relationships, to get out of our bubbles and learn, and start that journey.”