Justice Murray Sinclair, a legend in the field of Aboriginal justice pursuits, has accepted an invitation to be the next speaker at the Perspectives Series hosted by Red Deer College.
Sinclair was recently appointed the Canadian Senator for Manitoba, after successfully chairing the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
Sinclair will visit RDC on March 30th at 7:30 p.m. for the public session. Tickets are available online at the Black Knight Inn Ticket Centre for $25.
“We definitely have the hope that Murray Sinclair will have a great impact on the students. Immediately, we hope that students can connect some of his messages with their current studies and work as students,” said Dr. Krista Robson, of the Perspectives Committee at RDC.
“In the longer term, we have the hope – and I think a realistic hope – that students will want to learn more about the TRC, about this part of Canadian history and to hopefully find a place for themselves in the reconciliation process yet to come.”
The TRC began several years ago and has recently released the official findings, calls to action and research undertaken by the commission. The importance of this work can be seen across the country as it affects every community, either Aboriginal or not, officials have said.
Robson said she feels that Sinclair’s visit will be particularly impactful, as there are many students studying at RDC who will go on to work with Aboriginal communities.
“Our students are bound for careers and professions that impact Aboriginal communities and cultures – they’re heading for health care, social services, government education and so on,” Robson said.
“The TRC calls for action highlight the crucial role of education for all Canadians, but specifically in these exact fields. It’s very clear, given these calls to action, that our students and education need to incorporate the history, knowledge and impact of the residential school system.”
Robson said the mandate of the Perspective Series is to bring vital, timely and impactful speakers to Central Alberta and to help the students and community connect to large ideas. She said the Perspectives Committee seeks out Canadians who are able to speak to profound issues that are affecting the every day lives of the students and residents of the City.
“In a way, we are following a previous Perspectives speaker that we had – Phil Fontaine. He was here in 2010. As the former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Fontaine came and spoke specifically to his own experiences with the residential school system, and that was at the beginning of the TRC process,” Robson explained.
“Having Murray Sinclair here now as the chair of that commission will honour the messages that Mr. Fontaine shared with us. It will also be helpful for us as a community to understand the whole significance of the TRC and to look for ways to progress together in the future.”