Stelter bringing Indigenous workshop back to Tri-Region, with twist

The new one has a more religion-focused angle.

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Parry Stelter believes the workshops he hosts on Indigenous reconciliation can heal centuries-old wounds.

The Alexander First Nation member and Indigenous activist has been running his meetings for a number of years and brought out his standard presentation to the Hope Christian Reformed Church just north of Stony Plain in November. He will be back Feb. 8, and, whereas his first talk was on general issues for his people and Indigenous Canadians across the country, the new one has a more religion-focused angle.

“Everybody was very excited after the last one,” he said. “They felt that they had learned a lot and that this work needs to continue on. This one helps to bridge the gap between Indigenous people and church. Because of all the baggage that happened over the years, there are still a lot of people that believe in god and the church, but they still have a lot of emotional baggage and are a little hesitant about coming out.”


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Statistics Canada data from 2011, the most recent year the federal government appeared to have on file, showed that 65,000 people in the nation followed traditional native religious beliefs. Stelter added that the amount of people who still believe in Jesus from his cultural background surprises him, and, during the event, said he wants people to feel comfortable and be able to move on from bad memories.

“It is not a proselytizing thing,” Stelter said. “The approaches that colonialism did, it is not that. We are addressing those who are interested, but struggling with certain issues. If non Indigenous people attend, they will understand and reach out more without repeating mistakes.”

The Reconciling Indigenous People to the Church and to Christ workshop begins at 9 a.m. Stew and bannock will be served for lunch and it costs $20 to attend. Those interested in going must RSVP to 780-240-9802 through texting or calling by Friday, Feb. 7 to confirm presence.