Integration is when two or more things, people or groups come together to create something new. When we speak of cultural integration, we’re referring to cultures coming together to form a multicultural society, in which each culture is equally respected, celebrated and encouraged to retain its unique characteristics, customs, values and features.
This past week, a dear friend, Michele Sereda, passed away in a tragic fatal car accident just north of Regina. Well known to the arts community in Saskatchewan and beyond, Michele was someone who loved to learn about, learn from, and integrate with cultures that differed from her own ethno-cultural background.
Michele had a profound admiration and respect for Indigenous peoples and cultures. She used to say, “Anyone can go out to the reserve. You don’t need an invitation.” I took this to mean that if you cared about bridging Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures, it was up to non-Indigenous people to involve themselves in Indigenous ways of living, to learn about Indigenous traditions and values, and to visit with Indigenous peoples wherever they are.
|Photo by Ann Verrall
Michele was a wonderful example of someone who practiced cultural integration and demonstrated genuine curiosity and appreciation for diverse cultures, especially the cultures of Canada’s first peoples.
In honour of Michele, we welcome you to share your story of integration in the comments below, or on Twitter, using the hashtag: #WeAreSK. And we offer our sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in the fatal car accident outside Regina on the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 10.