The organizer of an Indigenous men’s conference believes a return to traditional practices is key to healing.

Over the past few days in Saskatoon, around 100 people have been in attendance for the Igniting the Warrior Spirit Within Conference, which is devoted to improving the health and well-being of Indigenous men.

Organizer Dennis Cameron says the gathering put a strong focus on a return to traditional practices.

“We are showcasing that when it comes to these gatherings, we have our own Indigenous role models and mentors that we can be utilizing,” said Cameron. “I think traditional practices are a key element to this whole process.”

Cameron, originally from Opaskwayak Cree Nation and currently living in Winnipeg, drew attention to the high number of Indigenous men in Canada’s prison system as proof that healing is needed.

“We are overrepresented in those areas,” he said. “I think it is time we take ownership of our actions, our programs, our direction and our healing processes.”

The men and women at the conference heard several different presentations on traditional health, career planning and economic development.

More conferences are planned across Western Canada in the coming months. Cameron hopes to hold a national Indigenous men’s conference in the future.

(PHOTO: Dennis Cameron. Photo by Joel Willick.)