Building a Bridge between Generations and to Reconciliation: oskayak kéhté-ayak atoskewin

The oskayak kéhté-ayak atoskewin project (Youth and Elders Working Together) was a collaborative effort between Ochapowace Nation and Chacachas Cree Nation in the Archdiocese of Regina.

The goal of the initiative was to foster understanding, healing and reconciliation through a gathering of Indigenous youth, Elders, survivors and non-Indigenous participants at Camp McKay, the historic site of the Round Lake Indian Residential School in Crooked Lake Valley.

Funding from the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund facilitated this three-day, land-based gathering that saw over 120 participants from various First Nations and non-Indigenous communities learn and walk together in the spirit of reconciliation.

The first day delved into the history of colonization, exploring the Indian Act and the intergenerational effects of residential schools through Survivor testimonies. Archbishop Don Bolen and Diocesan Truth and Reconciliation Committee members joined in, with TRC Committee representatives being co-facilitators in the Kairos Blanket Exercise. 

Officials from the Roman Catholic, United and Presbyterian Churches apologized to survivors on behalf of their churches for their role in Indian Residential Schools, marking a significant step toward healing.

The second day focused on decolonization, exploring pre-contact Néhiyawak (Cree) Natural Laws, teachings, values and ways to decolonize thinking and actions and rekindle cultural pride.

The final day emphasized “Walking in Two Worlds,” encouraging participants to embrace Indigenous and non-Indigenous ways of knowing and doing. Throughout the camp, participants engaged in Cree spiritual ceremonies, including pipe ceremonies and experiential, land-based learning activities such as canoeing and medicine walks.

More about the “oskayak kéhté-ayak atoskewin” project

The oskayak kéhté-ayak atoskewin committee includes survivors and Elder advisors from Ochapowace and Chacachas Nations. It was established to provide leadership and cultural learning opportunities for youth and Elders of both Nations. The Archdiocese of Regina, local organizations, First Nation Band Councils, and the community came together to ensure the success of this impactful initiative.

Archdiocese of Regina