Multicultural Forum: Remembering our Past, Envisioning our Future
It’s been 40 years since the Saskatchewan passed the first multiculturalism act in Canada. In celebration and reflection, the public was invited to join the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan and the Government of Saskatchewan to share their stories and ideas about the past, present and future of multiculturalism in Saskatchewan at a Multicultural Forum on Saturday, November 15.
The Forum took place at First Nations University Canada on Treaty 4 territory; Elder Harry Francis brought greetings that set a tone of openness to learning from others and building relationships. The Master of Ceremonies was Costa Maragos, University of Regina Spokesperson and community affairs advisor, and the forum featured speakers:
- Rebecca Otitoju – community leader from White City, on social and civic engagement;
- Evelyn Wojcichowsky – board member and volunteer for Yevshan Ukrainian Folk Ballet Ensemble, on experiences with Ukrainian dance as a way to celebrate, retain and share culture;
- Noy Lim and Royce Pettyjohn – Maple Creek Commercial Hotel, and Community and Economic Development Coordinator, on newcomers, business and community in small town Saskatchewan.
Cultural performers, the Free Range Multicultural Band and Terrance Littletent and the Kawacatoose Boys provided insight into traditional and contemporary cultural arts.
The Honourable Mark Docherty, Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport delivered opening remarks and attended the entire event. We are very grateful for the Minister’s interest and support of multiculturalism and contributions to the forum.
The Multicultural Forum also received significant media coverage with five media outlets attending indicating that multiculturalism is being recognized as important and vital aspect of Saskatchewan.
Summary of Recommendations from Multicultural Forum*
- Leadership (government, education, institutions, business, community organizations) respects and listens to all points of view – reflect diversity, build equity, meaningful involvement of community members in policy development and renewal – government report on state of multiculturalism in Saskatchewan
- Support (funding, infrastructure, attention) for cultural continuity (including languages), celebration of diversity, anti-racism, intercultural relationships, and long-term integration of newcomers
- Communications (PSAs are a great start!)
- More opportunities for people to gather and talk (like the forum) – Involve all stakeholders, including those who have decision-making power and roles
- Opportunities for youth to gather – repeat annually long-term
- Recognition and rejection of racism and discrimination
- Recognize many benefits of multiculturalism (cultural, economic, social and civic/political)
- Equity – identify and remove barriers
- Involvement of indigenous communities
*Please note that this list is only meant as an initial summary of the key recommendations identified by attendees at the forum and it is not intended to be an official report. A report will be made available in the future.