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Learning session on Anishinaabe set

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An Anishinaabe engagement session is coming to Fort Frances for those looking to learn more about treaty relationships, shared lands, and Anishinaabe history.

The session is being hosted by the Seven Generations Education Institute, in conjunction with the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board, this Thursday (March 29) from 1-4 p.m. at the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre.

Among the topics to be discussed include language revitalization, Treaty 3, residential schools, and the United Nations' Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

Event organizer Jamie Petrin said those who attended a similar session held March 15 in Atikokan had an overwhelmingly positive response.

“We did the feedback forms and there was not one negative comment to be had,” she noted.

“The only one that made a suggestion was for it to be a longer session so they can learn more.”

The session, in part, is meant to educate service providers about how to approach the issue of homelessness with the utmost respect.

The local DSSAB, along with 35 other service agencies, are co-ordinating a count of homelessness in the area from April 5-18.

During the count, there will be a focus on looking at common experiences or patterns amongst the homeless population to better understand the issue locally.

“We wanted to offer this session so that all service providers in the district, especially those participating in this count of homelessness, [will] make sure their frontline staff are approaching this issue as respectfully as possible,” Petrin said.

“Homelessness is stigmatizing and uncomfortable, and it's something where we want members of our communities that are experiencing it to feel respected by service providers,” she added.

Petrin stressed this isn't to say service providers aren't respectful, but it will help them to have a deeper awareness and better understanding of the issues at hand.

The session held earlier this month in Atikokan attracted service providers in the fields of justice, health, mental health, child protection, and social services.

Although the session has targeted parts for service providers, anyone with an interest is welcome.

“Even though it's targeted to service providers, it is open to all,” Petrin remarked.

“So if there's people who don't work in a non-profit service organization that want to attend this, its open to them, as well.”

To register for the event, e-mail jpetrin@rrdssab.on.ca

Petrin, meanwhile, is encouraging service providers and those curious to learn about Anishinaabe culture to come out this Thursday.

“The knowledge that you will receive at this session is invaluable in gaining a deeper understanding of a history that belongs to all Canadians,” Petrin said.

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