Notice: Important information about COVID-19 here.

The Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy (JSGS) will host the 2016 Living Heritage symposium at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Regina.

By Dale Johnson Posted: April 28, 2016 1:30 p.m.

JSGS Executive Director Kathy McNutt says “Language is how living heritage is passed down between generations.”
JSGS Executive Director Kathy McNutt says “Language is how living heritage is passed down between generations.” Photo courtesy of Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School.

The Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy (JSGS) is hosting the 2016 Living Heritage symposium at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Regina on Friday April 29. The focus of this year’s event is “Truth and Reconciliation through the Sharing of Stories” and will provide an opportunity for people to learn about and participate in reconciliation initiatives through performance art, storytelling and public policy presentations.

"JSGS is thrilled to once again be part of the Living Heritage symposium," said Kathy McNutt, Executive Director of the JSGS. "It is a way for us and all of our organizing partners to focus on truth and reconciliation initiatives, and to contribute to building positive relationships between Indigenous peoples and other Canadians."

“When people think of heritage, they think more of the physical reminders of the past - a historical building like an old school house, or items that could be dug up an at archeological site, for instance."

Living Heritage focuses on the human created intangible aspects of heritage - the knowledge passed down through generations as it relates to passing on stories, teachings, songs, and the knowledge to create cultural items such as pots, drums, and other items that were traditionally used,” she adds.

The symposium is free and people are encouraged to register because seating is limited.

Shauneen Pete
Dr. Shauneen Pete, Executive Lead: Indigenization at the U of R, will give the keynote address at the symposium.
“A focus on Living Heritage offers participants an opportunity to learn about the history of the residential school system in Canada and to gain a better understanding of how we move forward toward new relationships with First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples,” explains Dr. Shauneen Pete, Executive Lead: Indigenization at the University of Regina.

“In Canada, many people have been structurally denied the opportunity to learn about our history from the point of view of Indigenous peoples. As a result, Canadians know very little about treaties, the Indian Act or the Indian residential school system. It was only a year ago when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released the Calls to Action, and yet for many Canadians many cannot begin to reconcile what they don't know,” she says.

Pete, who will be giving a keynote address at the symposium, says: “The U of R is uniquely positioned to explore ideas associated with the Indian Residential School System in Canada; one of the original three Canadian residential schools is a short distance away in the Qu'Appelle Valley and our city was home to the Regina Indian Industrial School. By learning about the history of the residential school system and by reviewing the Calls to Action we can begin to take a personal role in reconciliation efforts.”

The JSGS Policy Shop Presentation is about traditional language.

“Language is how living heritage is passed down between generations. A story passed between generations in English may lose meaning because English is a translation and the words used may not be as exact as the words used in a story told in the native tongue. There is a movement going on right now to revive the learning of traditional languages in Canada and internationally,” says McNutt.

This year’s symposium is hosted in partnership with the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, Heritage Saskatchewan, the City of Regina, and SaskCulture, with funding provided by Saskatchewan Lotteries.

When:     Friday April 29, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Where:    Royal Saskatchewan Museum, 2445 Albert Street, Regina, SK

Complete event details can be found on the JSGS website here.