Awakening a Spirit of Cross-Cultural Sharing

By: Shaunna Grandish January, 2017

In March 2016, newcomer and Indigenous youth came together in the spirit of cross-cultural sharing thanks to a series of weekend workshops aimed at breaking down stereotypes while building community spirit.

Building Bridges Between Indigenous & Newcomer Youth workshops came from a partnership between the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan (MCoS), the Regina Open Door Society, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. These workshops spanned over three days at the end of March 2016 and saw approximately 40 participants each day. The youth came from a variety of countries and cultures, which included Cree, Saulteaux, Dakota, South and East Asian, African and Middle Eastern.

Over the duration of the weekend, the youth participated in activities that promoted interaction, learning and communication across cultural differences. The young participants shared openly with each other their own customs and traditions; learned about First Nations culture such as the importance of bison and tipi-building; and also developed an understanding of the treaties and the effects colonialism and residential schools had on Indigenous individuals and their communities.

According to Rhonda Rosenberg, executive director, MCoS, “It is extremely important that newcomers understand colonial history, treaties and the residential school experience, so they have some understanding of the resilience we see from First Nations people and the challenges they have to overcome.”

 The youth also took some time on the last day to lend a hand at the Regina Food Bank. “We develop different kinds of connections when we are working along beside each other,” adds Rosenberg.

“It’s an amazing adventure. They brought diverse youth into one little community and give us an opportunity to explore and build self-confidence. It’s an absolute benefit to all newcomers to Regina to be part of it and learn a lot about Canada and make new friends.” - Nisha Dalip,  Pakistan         

MCoS receives funding from SaskCulture thanks to the Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund for Sport, Culture and Recreation.