Cowessess chief talks reconciliation in Prince Albert, Sask.

Click to play video: 'Cowessess chief talks reconciliation in Prince Albert'
Cowessess chief talks reconciliation in Prince Albert
It's been nearly a year and a half since an estimated 751 unmarked graves were found on Cowessess First Nation. On the path to reconciliation, the first nation's chief speaks to the public about what that means – Nov 3, 2022

Prince Albert is a city like many others in Saskatchewan that is addressing truth and reconciliation.

“The history of Indigenous people in this land is heartbreaking and it’s a tough truth to process,” Prince Albert Police Service Deputy Chief Farica Prince said.

While decades have passed since Prince Albert’s residential school closed, the impact remains.

To help educate the community, the Prince Albert Police Service hosted Cowessess First Nations Chief Cadmus Delorme.

“Nobody today created the Indian Act, residential schools, the 60s scoop, we inherited this,” Delorme said. “Indigenous people, the end goal is parity while welcoming in that Indigenous world view.”

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In June 2021, 751 suspected unmarked graves were found using ground-penetrating sonar at Cowessess. Since then, Delorme has garnered international attention speaking widely about truth and reconciliation.

Click to play video: 'Discovery of unmarked graves impacts Cowessess First Nation'
Discovery of unmarked graves impacts Cowessess First Nation

In a non-judgmental and even humorous delivery, his speech attracted hundreds of residents.

“It’s tough to move to reconciliation when many of us are still trying to accept and understand the truth,” Delorme said.

Delorme said he never attended a residential school but his family did. He said it’s the younger generations who are learning more about Indigenous history and are driving reconciliation.

“We have to understand and teach our kids that we are now the students as adults,” Delorme said.

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Prince Albert’s Chief of Police Jonathan Bergen said he has wanted Delorme to come speak in the city for years.

He hopes people left the presentation with a better understanding.

“Continuing to educate the community and the police service and bring that truth to all of us,” Bergen said of the intention behind the presentation.

Delorme said he is optimistic about the future as he sees more and more Canadians learning about reconciliation.

“Canada is going to get this right and when we get TRC right, international countries that have a similar history are going to come here and ask us how we did it,” Delorme said.

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