Vivian Whitecalf wanted to do something about racism in her community.In 2016, after the shooting of Colten Boushie, racism “exploded” in her community in North Battleford, Whitecalf said.“Me and my friends would get together and ask ‘Why did it come to this? What can we do?’ ” she said. “I don’t want my daughter’s children to experience anything like this.”Whitecalf, a member of the Sweetgrass First Nation as well as the local tribal council and chamber of commerce, was invited to be part of a community group discussing solutions.This week, 10 such groups met in Saskatoon to discuss their grassroots efforts to advance reconciliation in the province, one town and one person at a time.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.The conference was facilitated by the Office of the Treaty Commissioner (OTC), which unveiled a four-pronged “common vision” for Truth and Reconciliation in Saskatchewan nearly four years after the publishing of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action.The vision, which OTC director of reconciliation and community partnerships Rhett Sangster says was informed by discussions with stakeholders of all backgrounds throughout Saskatchewan, is centred on shared understanding of history, authentic relationships, acknowledging vibrant cultures and world views and removing racism from institutions.“Were not trying to rewrite the reports. There’s a lot of reports out there,” Sangster said. “We’re trying to pull them together and ask: what do we need to do to have authentic relationships?”“Our hope is to make a measurement framework that companies and communities can use to see where we’re at.” Saskatoon Sept. 12, 2019: Office of the Treaty Commissioner director of reconciliation and community partnerships Rhett Sangster was the MC for an announcement of the office’s “common vision” for reconciliation in communities across Saskatchewan. (Zak Vescera/Saskatoon StarPhoenix) The day also featured speeches and greetings from First Nations and Métis Elders and community leaders.Peter “Tony” Stevenson, a residential school survivor and member of the Saulteaux First Nation from the Cote Reserve, shared his story of legal advocacy and the ongoing trauma of the system in an emotional speech to the crowd.“The priests and nuns are gone,” said Stevenson, referring to the school’s staff. “But the footprints are still here.“Many of the groups from throughout the province formed organically before connecting with the treaty commissioner’s office.Charmain Laroque and Robin Bendig are part of the Prairie Rivers Reconciliation Committee, which has facilitated meetings with residential school survivors and will host its second annual conference on reconciliation in October.“One of our main objectives is education, so there’s always an educational piece at our meetings to help all members understand our shared history so we can move forward in our reconciliation journey,” Laroque said.Community members said the work is often difficult.Some members of her community were unwilling to engage in conversations around racism, either because of a lack of knowledge or their own prejudice, but she meeting like-minded people from across the province has empowered her to ask hard questions about racism in her hometown, Whitecalf said.“Some days I just want to throw in the towel, but the next day I just say, ‘Nope,’ and get back to it … We’re never going to get rid of racism, but we can do something about it.”Treaty Commissioner Mary Culbertson said individual, grassroots efforts are the only way to achieve reconciliation.Reconciliation is a great vision … It can’t be thrown around by politicians. It’s from the people. It’s because of the people,” she said.