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February 3, 2014
A letter to editor, which appeared in the Daily News in March of 2013, was the lightning rod that brought together Vancouver Island University, the City of Nanaimo and Snuneymuxw First Nation. These local leaders initiated a series of reconciliation talks in Nanaimo. The most recent conversation on the role of media and Indigenous voices in reshaping relationships trended on Twitter. It was streamed live across Canada.
On Wednesday night, it was standing room only at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre. The place was alive with students, families, and concerned citizens who want to talk and to listen to each other. Gina Mowatt and Ashley Okrainec were the emcees.
In his opening statements, Chief Douglas White III helped set the stage for the evening along with Mayor John Ruttan. VIU president Ralph Nilson welcomed everyone and said how proud he is that VIU is a place of dialogue where people can have difficult conversations with respect.