Sinixt at Peace Café

  • Mar. 30, 2011 9:00 a.m.

The Peace Café on Thursday aims to shed light on the Sinixt Nation and their struggle for recognition.

Held at the Mir Centre for Peace at Selkirk College, Randy Janzen, chair for the centre said this topic is one of the reasons the Peace Café is held.

“The Peace Café was formed to talk about shaping our futures through conversations that matter,” Janzen said. “We don’t want to shy away from contentious issues or issues that are sensitive.”

He said it’s better to talk about issues in the open while in a safe, compassionate environment.

“We were approached by the Sinixt community to give an update on what has happened since the court decision in Vancouver,” Janzen said.

This court decision allowed logging and road building to go ahead in Perry Ridge without consultation with the Sinixt. Since 1956, the federal government has declared the Sinixt Nation extinct.

“It is my wish to assist learners in understanding what being an Indian in today’s world entails,” Marilyn James, Selkirk College’s aboriginal co-ordinator and appointed spokesperson of the Sinixt Nation said.

“Understanding is complex and difficult in the best of times.”

James said she understands it may be difficult for people to ask some questions they may have in public or even in private if they don’t have the first levels of understanding to guide them to deeper understanding.

“It’s raising awareness as to how it fits into the bigger historical picture,” Janzen said.

Moderated by Dr. Victor Villa, psychology instructor at Selkirk College, Janzen said he hopes people will ask a lot of questions.

“We want people to come and ask why,” he said. “They don’t necessarily have to agree.”

The Peace Café takes place on Thursday night at the Mir Centre for Peace at Castlegar’s Selkirk College campus.

The presentation starts at 7 p.m. and admission is by donation and refreshments will be served.

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