Teresa Cardinal with the Red Deer Native Friendship Society shared her story about making Red Deer her home after she moved out of a reserve. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Red Deer Advocate.

Red Deerians are welcoming towards immigrants

CARE wants immigrants to enjoy a sense of belonging

Canada is colourful and diverse.

This was the message presenters from Red Deer Native Friendship Society and Red Deer Catholic Social Services Immigrant and Refugee Support at the Cultural Café at the Hub on Ross on Wednesday.

It was second of two planned cultural understanding sessions hosted by the Central Alberta Refugee Effort (CARE) to commemorate Canada’s 150th birthday in August.

Community resource connector Teresa Cardinal from the Red Deer Native Friendship Society said she’s found a home and kinship in Red Deer.

“When I first moved out of the reserve, there was a bit of a culture shock,” said Cardinal.

She referred to the same culture shock immigrants or refugees face when they first come to Canada in search of a new home. This was one of the many reasons CARE decided to host the two sessions in hopes to connect the two demographics, which may or may not be happening in the community.

“We only have a limited knowledge so we wanted to make sure they (newcomers) are getting knowledge from Aboriginal (peoples) and not just what every day people tell them,” said Jan Underwood, CARE public awareness co-ordinator.

Unlike in some parts of the U.S., people in Red Deer and Central Alberta respond positively to newcomers and are more open to communication and organizations such as CARE want to make sure the trend continues, she said.

“Red Deerians are open to dialogue,” said Sadia Khan, CARE public awareness coordinator for community development. “They are very welcoming and a lot of people within the city are working hard to make Red Deer a welcoming and inclusive community so it outweighs the other side,” said

Underwood said she is positive that Canada is far from the chaos south of the border. She aid the Canada’s voices are more collective and united.

“I think in terms of what’s happening right now with Trump and ‘Trump-ism’ and what happened in Charlottesville, I doubt that would happen in Canada because there would be more people resisting,” said Underwood.

mama.lulla@reddeeradvocate.com

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