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Friends United Reconciliations Talks wrapped up last week

Left to right: Hereditary Chief Stephen Augustine, former Nova Scotia premier Hon. Rodney MacDonald, Friends United artist Halina Stopyra, Cree Nation artist Jasyn Lucas, former Nova Scotia Premier Hon. Iain Rankin, Elena Paul, Friends United Founder Rolf Bouman, television anchor and author Nancy Regan, lawyer Adam Rodgers.


November 30, 2022

    From November 14th – 23rd, the 2nd annual Friends United Reconciliation Talks took place at the Friends United International Convention Centre in Richmond County, Unama’ki (Cape Breton), Nova Scotia, Canada. The first event took place in 2019 and, due to COVID-19, the second event was delayed until this year.
    The Friends United International Convention Centre houses the artwork of more than 40 Indigenous artists, and is an important tool for learning about Indigenous heritage, art, and culture. People from all walks of life are being featured in talks, such as Mi’kmaq artists Loretta Gould, Shianne Gould, Darren Julian, and artists from other areas of Canada such as Cree Nation artist Jasyn Lucas and Salish totem pole carver Gerry Sheena. Inuit film and television actor Eric Schweig, who is also a mask carver, has attended as well.
    The Reconciliation Talks will be featured on the Friends United website in the coming weeks and months. The Friends United Initiative aims at eliminating prejudice, raising awareness, and facilitating reconciliation dialogue, as this is one of the most important issues in which future generations must be engaged. Former Live at 5 television host and author of From Showing Off to Showing Up, Nancy Regan, hosted the talks.
    Also joining the discussions were Hereditary Chief Stephen Augustine of Cape Breton University, Hon. Senator Dan Christmas, former Paqtnkek Chief Kerry Prosper (who is also a knowledge keeper for St. F.X. University), Shannon Monk, Karen Bernard, Barry Bernard of the Red Tribe Boxing Club, Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton, former federal cabinet minister Hon. Leona Aglukkaq, former Nova Scotia Premier the Hon. Stephen McNeil, former Nova Scotia premier the Hon. Rodney MacDonald, former Nova Scotia premier the Hon. Iain Rankin, Her Honour Judge Laurie Halfpenny-McQuarrie, Engage NS CEO Danny Graham, lawyer and Port Hawkesbury Rotary Club President Adam Rodgers, Richmond County Warden Amanda Mombourquette, principal of the Nova Scotia Community College Marconi Campus Carla Arsenault, principal of the Nova Scotia Community College Strait Campus Vivek Saxena, Trina Samson, Omar Tag-El-Din, Kevin Patriquin, and others.
    Friends United founder Rolf Bouman says this is a combined effort to learn about Indigenous heritage, peoples, and culture, and going forward to learn from what happened in the past to create a better future. The main topics of these talks have been inclusivity, bringing people together, reconciliation, education, and leadership.
    In recent years the Friends United Initiative has gifted artwork to Nova Scotia Community Colleges, St. F.X. and Cape Breton Universities, the Coady International Institute, Cape Breton Partnership offices in Sydney, the Gladue Court in Wagmatcook, businesses in Acadia First Nation, and provincial government offices such as the Registry of Motor Vehicles and Legal Aid offices, hospitals and palliative care units. In a recent collaboration, Friends United will be gifting to EHS bases across the province Indigenous artwork. This was an idea of Lucas Bouman, who is a paramedic and also works with his father, Rolf Bouman, at Friends United.
    Friends United will also display Indigenous artwork in Halifax hotels for the North American Indigenous Games, which will be hosted in 2023. Another collaboration between Friends United, Loretta Gould, and the Stanfield International Airport in Halifax is one of the largest Indigenous displays in Canada. The departure hall at the airport features the work of Loretta Gould in a banner that is 400 ft. x 8 ft. Recently Friends United opened an art exhibit at St. F.X. for artists Loretta Gould and Alan Syliboy. A permanent exhibition of 60 paintings is located in the building of the Port Hawkesbury law firm EMM Law.
    Friends United is funded by the Bouman group of companies, including Canadian Pioneer Estates Ltd.



 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 







 

 



 






 

 

 


    

 


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