For the first time in several years all nine Dakota and Lakota nations in Saskatchewan gathered to speak on shared interests.

The Dakota and Lakota Gathering has been taking place this week at Dakota Dunes Conference Centre on Whitecap Dakota First Nation – the first gathering of its kind since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

MBC News spoke with Whitecap Dakota Chief Darcy Bear and he says there has been two main topics of discussion to arise from the two-day gathering; continued work with the Government of Canada about broken treaty promises and language revitalization.

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Mark Miller was at the gathering on Thursday and Bear says the discussions “sound very promising.”

“We have had discussions with other ministers in the past and we are hopeful this will eventually lead to a resolution on this long-standing history we have with Canada,” he said. “Hopefully Canada remembers the contribution of our ancestors and acknowledges them when it comes to treaty.”

Chief Bear also spoke on the strategies being talked about for language revitalization among the nations represented.

“We have to look not only at what we have in our community, but also what others are doing and how we can share resources and continue to revive our languages.”

A Dakota, Lakota, and Nakoda language revitalization conference is coming at the end of May, which Chief Bear says he is looking forward to.

The Dakota and Lakota gathering will conclude on Friday afternoon.

(PHOTO – File photo of Whitecap Dakota First Nation Darcy Bear.)