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Race Relations Circle works to improve settler-Indigenous relations

By Randy Thoms Mar 27, 2023 | 7:58 AM

There are continued efforts in the Rainy River district to improve relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

It has been the goal of the Rainy River District Right Relations Circle.

It was formed in 2006.

One of the organizers, Jennifer Thorpe, says they are leading the discussion and taking action on a lot of topics around reconciliation and healing.

“As we learn more about treaty history and residential school history and hear from survivors and elders, it’s a really welcoming and opening space for people to come to Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to share, to learn, to create community strategies, to discuss resources in a really respectful environment,” says Thorpe.

The group meets on the third Tuesday of every month at the Fort Frances Museum.

Two years ago, it partnered with the museum and the Fort Francis Public Library to create a Cultural Heritage Knowledge Series program.

“(It) is focused on addressing recommendations from the TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) for libraries and museums and inclusive programming and welcoming spaces for Indigenous culture. That is a wonderful program, and we are seeing such a wonderful response to it.”

Thorpe encourages people to take the opportunity to learn more about area First Nations by searching out their websites, and participating in worshops and ceremonies that are open to the public.

She says that can help build bridges.

Thorpe says there is still a lot of work to do, and the Circle is a great place for people to start.

“Maybe they’re just learning about all of this, and they’re not sure exactly where or what they can do, or maybe they just have questions that maybe they feel silly asking. We also have some wonderful Indigenous people that come who are very open and very kind about listening and sharing.”



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