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Reconciliation workshop an opportunity for healing

Friday's (May 30) reconciliation workshop with Nanaimo's Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre will allow another opportunity for healing, according to co-facilitator Tony Elliott.

Aboriginal children were subject to mental, physical and sexual abuse at residential schools and two survivors will be making presentations at the workshop.

“I guess what it's come down to is we want to look at not just the pain of residential school but some of the solutions,” said Elliott, also men's wellness councillor at Tillicum Lelum. “So looking at solutions as a community of aboriginal and non-aboriginal on the inter-generational impacts that are still being passed down – the trauma to the children [of parents who haven't healed].”

He said the aim is to move away from the “us and them” mentality and be more proactive, helping to change both sides.

“I know a lot of community people are overwhelmed with hearing about the trauma on all that kind of stuff,” Elliott said. “A lot of people haven't had the opportunity to heal it and we're going to look at more of sort of what's happened but move into solution and then some healing practices.”

Some people don't understand that healing must occur. Individuals heal at different rates and with the right opportunities, he said, adding a lot of survivors work through post-traumatic stress disorder.

There is also a therapeutic nature to the workshops.

“I guess most [workshops] I've gone to never talk about the healing and they never talk about the work that is already being done and about what needs to happen more and how we can work more as a community, not just for First Nations but for all people who have trauma and who have healing that needs to be done,” said Elliott.

The event will take place at the Tillicum Lelum Neutral Zone at 421 Franklyn St. and will run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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