A historic gathering
Canada’s first-ever Reconciliation and the Media Conference convened at the University of Saskatchewan on Oct. 4 and 5, 2016, sparked by a small group of Saskatoon journalists. Among the 116 registrants were managers and journalists from 29 news organizations across the province, including all the major television and radio broadcasters, all of Saskatchewan’s daily newspapers, and several rural weekly papers. Faculty from the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Regina School of Journalism and the First Nations University of Canada Indian Communication Arts (INCA) program were also in attendance, along with representatives of local community agencies.
Dr. Marie Wilson
Dr. Marie Wilson served as a Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner, following a long and distinguished career in journalism. Dr. Wilson worked in print, radio and television as a regional and national reporter, and later as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's senior manager for northern Quebec and the three northern Territories. She was the first television program host of northern Canada’s flagship weekly information program, Focus North. Her reports tackled complex issues, from the Quebec sovereignty referendum and national unity debates to the national Constitutional talks of the 1980’s; from the settlement of historic aboriginal rights agreements to the state of health in First Nations and Inuit communities; from Papal visits to centennial celebrations of the Riel Rebellion. Dr. Wilson is the recipient of a CBC North Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Northerner of the Year Award, and various awards and recognitions for journalism, writing excellence, and work-place safety initiatives. In May 2012, she was awarded an honourary Doctor of Laws degree by St. Thomas University of Fredricton, New Brunswick, in recognition of a professional career "marked by public service and social justice."
Photo: Michael Berg/StarPhoenix
A Cree from the Muskeg Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan, Mr. Arcand spent 10 years at the St. Michael Indian Residential school in Duck Lake and 1 year at the Lebret Student Residence, both in Saskatchewan. Over the last 37 years, Mr. Arcand has served the Saskatchewan First Nations community in a variety of capacities particularly with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations as an Education Liaison Worker, an Executive Assistant for the North Battleford District and as an elected Vice-Chief. He also served as the Executive Director of the Prince Albert Indian and Metis Friendship Centre. Mr. Arcand has dedicated much of his time as an organizer of major events such as regional and national First Nations sports, cultural events, tourism, as well as events geared toward First Nations' youth advancement. A Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Mr. Arcand also received the Saskatchewan Tourism Ambassador Award in 1997 and was named Prince Albert Citizen of the Year in 1994. Over the past few years Mr. Arcand has worked on ensuring that both the public and survivor communities are kept informed of the developments and processes linked to the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement.
Connie Walker is currently a reporter for the CBC News Investigative Unit, and was previously lead reporter for CBC Indigenous. She grew up on Okanese First Nation and attended the University of Regina. While a student at the First Nations University of Canada (then SFIC) she received a Joan Donaldson scholarship to intern at CBC. She also worked for the youth consumer show Street Cents while a student. Following her graduation Walker took a permanent position with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She served as host of Living Saskatchewan, and served as a reporter and producer for CBC News: Sunday and flagship news show, The National. In the fall of 2009 Walker became a correspondent for Connect with Mark Kelley. Okanese, a personal documentary Walker produced, about the community in which she grew up, earned an honourable mention at the Columbus International Film & Video Festival. In 2013 Walker helped produce the acclaimed 8th Fire documentary on contemporary issues for First Nations people.
Chief Tammy Cook-Searson
Raised on her family trap line, Lac la Ronge Indian Band Chief Tammy Cook-Searson has led Saskatchewan’s largest First Nation for the past 11 years. Cook-Searson is an entrepreneur, social worker and accomplished marathon runner. Under her leadership, the band’s business arm, Kitsaki Management, has expanded to create jobs and revenue in the transportation, insurance, agriculture, hospitality and other sectors. She’s a recipient of both the 2006 Saskatchewan Centennial Medal and the 2002 Queens Golden Jubilee Medal.