The Saskatchewan Association of Watersheds (SAW) secured funding to provide training for watershed staff. The theme of this workshop was “Starting Good Relationships” and was held on February 5 and 6, 2020 at the First Nations University in Regina. Converging Pathways Consulting, led by Chris McKee and Kallie Wood, guided us through this workshop. Converging Pathways is a globally recognized company that has distinguished itself for strategy development, building designs and reconstructs, conflict resolution, relationship building, reconciliation, and education. Chris and Kallie also facilitated a powerful blanket exercise. The exercise is an endeavor to learn the history from an Indigenous perspective by journeying through 500 years of Canadian History through an Indigenous lens.
The two days were also filled with presentations and panel discussions. Particularly interesting were the presentations from Councilor Richard Aisaican, Chair of Steward of the Land & Water, Cowessess First Nation, Lorna Standingready, Elder & Water Keeper, and Councilor Dustin Ross Fiddler, Waterhen Lake First Nation. All three of them talked about what to take into consideration when engaging with First Nations. Councilor Aisaican and Councilor Dustin Ross Fiddler provided input from a managing perspective and how they operate on a daily basis. Lorna Standingready spoke about her role as a Water Keeper and the importance of water to First Nations. All three of them happily answered our questions and gave important suggestions for meaningful relationship building with First Nations.