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‘Ke’ilaknutma’tinej – Let’s Talk’: One-Day Conference for Dialogue

by NationTalk on April 21, 20071056 Views

April 19, 2007

‘Ke’ilaknutma’tinej – Let’s Talk’
One-Day Conference for Dialogue to Balance Aboriginal Perspectives, Policing, Challenges, and Responses

(Sydney, NS) – Dialogue to promote balanced understandings about land, water, and related issues as they pertain to Aboriginal communities, police services, challenges, and responses is the main focus of a one-day conference on Friday, April 27, entitled “Ke’ilaknutma’tinej – Let’s Talk”. The conference, which takes place in the Royal Bank Lecture Theatre at Cape Breton University, is designed for individuals in community services, policing, and education as well as First Nations’ youth and Elders and interested others. The gathering will be the largest of its kind in Atlantic Canada.The Mi’kmaq College Institute and the Institute for Integrative Science & Health at Cape Breton University, the RCMP, and the Cape Breton Regional Police Service have come together to host the full day agenda. Nationally recognized speakers will provide commentary and include Insp. Cal Chrustie (RCMP), Dr. Don Julian (Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq), Dr. Patrick Macklem (University of Toronto), Insp. Jim Potts (retired, RCMP / OPP), Roger Lewis (Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn / Mi’kmaq Rights), Dr. Don Clairmont (Dalhousie University) and C/Supt. Doug Reti (National Aboriginal Policing Services, RCMP). Lindsay Marshall (Associate Dean, Mi’kmaq College Institute) will set the tone at the beginning of the day and provide reflection at the end. He will be joined by Mi’kmaq Elders Jane Meader of Membertou First Nation and Albert Marshall of Eskasoni First Nation, and Dr. Keith Brown of Cape Breton University. John G. Paul, Executive Director of the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs will be the guest speaker at the closing banquet.

“This conference sees CBU engaging with its community partners at the challenging nexus of land and water, Aboriginal rights, policing, and Canada today,” notes Dr. Cheryl Bartlett, Canada Research Chair in Integrative Science at Cape Breton University. “The conference is our second towards sharing understandings in an effort to promote positive relationships while recognizing diverse perspectives. Last year we hosted the first such conference in the country; called “Recognizing Our Relationships”, it brought the university into partnership with two distinct policing services and Aboriginal interests.”

Lindsay Marshall, Associate Dean, Mi’kmaq College Institute (MCI) at Cape Breton University indicates that “one of the goals of MCI is to build partnerships and continue the education process with regard to Aboriginal issues in today’s society. Conferences such as Ke’ilaknutma’tinej are important stepping stones needed to achieve this goal. The day’s discussions will go far in maintaining and strengthening the partnerships between policing services and Aboriginal communities.”

Last year’s conference garnered great response and generated the interest towards this year’s more challenging theme which acknowledges the difficulties and emergent insights around the Caledonia and Ipperwash situations in Ontario, as well as Burnt Church and St. Peters closer to home and those elsewhere in Canada.

This year, through the partnership, 120 participants will have the opportunity to interact with one another and hear from a range of knowledgeable speakers and visionaries. The overall goal is to seek to learn from these past situations by sharing perspectives and understandings in the hope that they, in turn, will enable positive and healthy energies to shape our collective futures.

“Once again we see partnerships with law enforcement agencies, Cape Breton University, volunteers, and First Nations communities coming together to increase mutual understandings of views, historical issues, and current Canadian challenges and responses between the groups,” says Myles Burke, Inspector with the Cape Breton Regional Police Service.

“The RCMP is proud to support this initiative. It truly is inspirational to see these partners come together and take the concept of co-learning to a new level in efforts to promote significant, proactive, positive difference,” says Staff Sergeant Jeff Christie with the Eskasoni First Nation RCMP. He notes one of the RCMP’s national priorities is leveraging partnerships around this topic and they were pleased to provide funding through the RCMP National Crime Prevention Centre.

“I am looking forward to the events of the day”, notes conference MC Ian McNeil (former host of CBC Cape Breton Radio’s Information Morning). “To me, the conference will show how Cape Breton partners working with nationally significant insights and contexts can set precedents for the rest of Canada.”

Registration is free and includes lunch and the closing banquet. Interested participants must register by Wednesday, April 25; space is limited to 120 participants.

For more information and registration forms, call (902) 563-1871, e-mail
or visit and click on “Conferences”.


Media Note: Full agenda included. The conference officially gets underway at 8:30 a.m. with Opening Prayers and Welcoming Remarks. Media representatives are invited to attend any sessions of interest.

Kelly Rose
Communications Officer, Cape Breton University
Tel: (902) 563-1638

S/Sgt Jeff Christie
Detachment Commander, RCMP Eskasoni First Nation
Tel: (902) 379-2822

S/Sgt Eugene MacLean
Cape Breton Regional Police Service

Lindsay Marshall
Associate Dean, Mi’kmaq College Institute
Cape Breton University

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