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Pathway to Reconciliation: City and partners release ayisiyiniwak (second edition)
August 07, 2019
The City, along with collaborating partners Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre (SICC) and Office of the Treaty Commissioner (OTC), is pleased to share the second edition of “ayisiyiniwak [a/yi/see/ni/wak, Cree for ‘the people’]: A Communications Guide” (ayisiyiniwak).
Originally developed in 2017 as an educational resource for City employees to enhance their understanding of Indigenous culture and practices, copies of the guide have since been requested by organizations across Canada including government agencies, other municipalities, educational institutions and community groups.
“The creation of ayisiyiniwak has helped us to build understanding and forge a path of partnership with the Indigenous community,” said Mayor Charlie Clark. “The leadership shown from our staff in partnership with the OTC and SICC is something to be truly proud of. Now I have civic leaders from across the country asking me for these guides.”
The second edition of ayisiyiniwak has been updated with:
- a chapter devoted to Métis culture and local history;
- a new Inuit chapter;
- revised Cree translations (including the title) as reviewed by nêhiyawak or Cree speaking linguists;
- new sections within the First Nations chapter including 60s Scoop, Elder’s Helper, Syllabics, Flag Etiquette, Anthems/Honour Songs, The Grand Entry, Blanketing and Two-Spirit People;
- several new terms and suggested resources.
“The Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre is pleased to be part of this handbook. On behalf of the Board of Governors, the Elders Council, and the staff we would like to commend the City of Saskatoon and the Office of the Treaty Commissioner for their commitment and dedication to developing this second edition. Education comes in many forms and this handbook provides a platform for, not only City employees, but for everyone to enjoy and begin to learn a little about Indigenous culture. Reconciliation begins with understanding. Understanding begins with openness, respectfulness, compassion, and willingness. Understanding isn’t always easy or beautiful, it takes time and is very personal. Be patient and open to learn and become more mindful and respectful of Indigenous ways of being,” said Wanda Wilson, President, Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre.
ayisiyiniwak is part of the City’s commitment to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada’s Call to Action #57, which specifically calls upon governments to: “provide education to public servants on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal-Crown relations.”
“The Office of the Treaty Commissioner is committed to engaging in public information and awareness to advance the Treaty goal of good relations. The ayisiyiniwak communications guide continues to grow and support the work of reconciliation,” said Treaty Commissioner of Saskatchewan, Mary Culbertson. “Being able to understand each other results in building positive, trusting relationships.”
During the development of the second edition, the project team was privileged to have the guidance of a Cree linguist, several First Nation and Métis Elders, as well as the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami [ITK].
The project team also wishes to acknowledge the support of Gabriel Dumont Institute and the Saskatoon Tribal Council, who through a summer employment partnership opportunity helped make the second edition of ayisiyiniwak possible.
The first edition of the guide recently won a National Planning Excellence Award of Merit from the Canadian Institute of Planners in the category of Planning for Reconciliation.
For more information and to download and digital copy of ayisiyiniwak, visit saskatoon.ca/ayisiyiniwak.
Hard copies of ayisiyiniwak can be purchased from SICC’s Online Store at https://store.sicc.sk.ca/ or by emailing Tiffany.Carrier@sicc.sk.ca.
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