Kimmapipitsin, Building bridges through stories

Community Conversations around aboriginal poverty reduction

Kimmapipitsin, a Blackfoot word for kindness and compassion, sets the invitation for the Community Conversation that will be hosted by Vibrant Communities Calgary on April 20th, 2016, at the Marlborough Community Hall.

Honouring the tradition where Elders pass down their teachings, Blackfoot Elder Randy Bottle will be the Master of Ceremonies, passing teachings to the audience.

“Everyone is welcome”, says Amanda Ens, Aboriginal Advisor for Vibrant Communities Calgary, working on Calgary’s Aboriginal Poverty Reduction Strategy. “Listen to the people that are directly affected. Hear the voices of people that are unheard, give them the spotlight” is at the heart of this Community Conversation, says Amanda.

The panel conversation, Imanasii ki tsi posinno, means speaking the truth. All panelists will be indigenous people that have lived through poverty, and that have also taken the steps to get out of it.

People will also have the opportunity to participate in Sharing Circles, where they will discuss topics like their vision of community, the current need of a physical space for indigenous groups in the city, and other pressing needs people have in relation to Calgary’s Aboriginal Poverty Reduction Strategy.

The Turning Robe Drummers will play the drums to welcome participants, and to honour the Attawapiskat community in Northern Ontario, who are struggling with a very painful suicide crisis. “Drumming helps build trust for indigenous people, particularly those who are estranged from their communities and their culture” says Amanda.

Aboriginal Myth Busting, an activity designed to learn the truth about indigenous people, will help participants challenge indigenous stereotypes.

Local indigenous artists and vendors will be present, as well as organizations like The Boys and Girls Club and Momentum.

The organizers will be offering support for people to be able to join the event. Childcare will be available to the first ten kids that arrive. Bus passes to return home at the end of the event will be provided to those who need them.

The afternoon will close with the opportunity to mingle and connect around a delicious community meal. Everyone is welcome. Let’s make this an opportunity to deepen our understanding, to connect and learn about each other!

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