Elder Starblanket Shares His Residential School Experience & Need For Reconciliation Message at South Forum

SFNFCI coordinated and hosted a South Networking Forum for Ministry and Child and Family Service Agency workers at the FHQ Teepee Building in Fort Qu’Appelle on February 23, 2016.

The morning included an icebreaker and introductions.  The introductions demonstrated that an amazing amount of talent and experience was present in the room that day.

SFNFCI Elders AJ & Patsy Felix, along with Elder Noel Starblanket from Starblanket First Nation provided a welcoming prayer and shared some teachings for the day.









Read Elder Noel Starblanket Biography ~Here~

Elder Noel shared a teaching on the Sundance ceremony.  He also spoke about his experiences at the Residential Schools and emphasized that it is a time for reconciliation – for both non-First Nations and First Nations people.

Elder Starblanket asked the people present:

“Are you ready for reconciliation?

What are you doing about it?

How are you doing (in your mind)?”

Elder Starblanket spoke about the importance of self-assessment and self-awareness as you move forward in reconciliation.  He also stated that talking circles are difficult and heart wrenching - but it is important to listen and learn from each other.  Unfortunately people through history do terrible things to each other.  It is important to understand the history or reasons that impact these causes that continue.  Hurt people hurt other people.

Elder Starblanket has also shared a promising observation with the group.  More non-First Nations people are coming to ceremonies – not to be converted, but to learn.  Experiential learning is an important way to learn about First Nations values, cultural practices and lifestyles.

Elder Starblanket also observed that he sees more women working in education and child welfare. He shared that women are “fire keepers” and are responsible to learn about life and how to take care of children properly, but it is also the men’s job to help the women.

The participants were reminded that they are all helpers and to keep up the good work to help children, youth and families.

The participants did an exercise in the afternoon where they designed a new family and services program.  Many people identified that if they were to “start from scratch” that they would focus more on prevention programs and services aimed at strengthening families and communities before having to focus on protection services.

“(There is) such a need in the education of people that work directly with First Nations Communities; not just social work but education and health.”

- Tanya Littlewolfe, Family Connections Planner, Child and Family Programs Regina

Elder AJ Felix provided a closing prayer for the day.

The southern child and family services agencies present were Yorkton Tribal Council Child and Family Services Agency and QBOW Child and Family Service Agency.

The southern ministry of social services offices that were present included: Weyburn/Estevan, Moose Jaw, Regina, Fort Qu’Appelle, and Yorkton.

Tischa Mason, Executive Director

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