Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 07/19/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
FIVE years after a Brandon School Division field trip likely set off a massive forest fire near Grand Rapids, pleas for reconciliation are slowly moving along -- about as quickly as the trees are regenerating.
"The students have graduated, the teacher has retired," BSD school board chairman Mark Sefton said this week.
BSD is waiting to hear what sort of an agenda the Grand Rapids Trappers Association has for any further meetings.
"We're talking more about a reconciliation process" than about any kind of compensation, Sefton said.
Board minutes from last month show trustees have had legal advice to avoid any talk of compensation or retribution and have been advised to hold any talks with the trappers in Brandon.
Sefton said the fire in 2008 had a huge impact on the habitat of the animals on which the trappers rely for their livelihood.
A provincial investigation concluded a Brandon School Division field trip most likely started a forest fire that consumed 53,008 hectares of forest, destroyed natural habitat and trappers' cabins, and cost $4.5 million to extinguish.
The since-cancelled Eco-Odyssey program is believed to have set off the fire when students burned toilet paper while in the bush. No one was injured.
Sefton said no one involved in that trip has come forward saying he or she would be willing to take part in reconciliation.
Elders from Misipawistik Cree Nation want the Brandon students and teacher responsible to come to Grand Rapids for a traditional healing circle.
"We were there a year ago and met with them," said Sefton, but it's the people involved in the fire that northern residents want to come to the healing circle.
It's called kwayaskonikiwin, one of the oldest traditional laws of reconciliation, Michael Anderson, director of the natural resources secretariat for the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) said last year in an interview. "It means to set things right, to restore a balance," Anderson said. "The elders have requested that the students who were personally involved come back."
Sefton said that BSD is hoping to find some way to promote greater awareness among current students.
"Is there a student exchange we can do, so our students would be more familiar with the aboriginal community and life on a trapline?" he said.
The trappers association could not be reached.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 19, 2013 A7
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
East Kildonan, West Kildonan experiencing power outages
New tests clean, but boil-water advisory still in effect for Winnipeg
Council approves free bin replacements
Committee to interview city CAO candidates as council decides Deepak Joshi's fate
Two separate charges in death: Winnipeg man assaulted, then run over
City's budgets to be made available to public in early March
Corus Entertainment lays off four Winnipeg radio personalities
National university teacher association lashes out at U of M's economics department
Two police-board appointments not renewed
PUB nixes Hydro rate increase
Boil water first, city advises
Mike McEwen chosen as top seed for men's curling championship in Brandon
Police breached youth's rights, judge rules
Council approves Convention Centre's $3.75 million settlement with Stuart Olson
Protesters rally against cuts
Man arrested after marijuana grow-op found at Pritchard Avenue home
Changes coming, but not soon
Repairs for west Winnipeg ACCESS centre could cost $5M
Bottled-water sales boom, restaurants close as city faces 2nd day of boil-water advisory
Busy day ahead for city hall
Oswald turns attention to workplace safety
MPI encouraging drivers to slow down
Disaster costs to triple after formula change
Centres want hike equal to child benefit
Vague-sounding options don’t foster optimism
Shoppers stock up on water
Chiefs tone down angry stance
Three years for deadly drug dosage
Police seek suspect in abduction attempt
Salting trucks to hit slippery city streets
WAA inflexibility curbs city's livability goals
What to do during a boil-water advisory
Ashton the one to beat
Freezing temperatures, drizzle, make for slippery conditions today