Often it can be an uncomfortable conversation when the topic of residential schools is brought up.

People can often have an emotional response when hearing about the institutions and the ripple effects that came from them, says Wab Kinew.

Kinew, who is the leader of the Manitoba New Democrats, visited Morden to speak at Diversitas to share his family's story, and his father's life journey after living in a residential school.

Kinew explains the institution taught bad habits to both his father and others, and when it came time to start families some transmitted those bad habits to their children, "but what I'm also mindful of, my father and others from his generation, also gave us the tools to overcome the obstacles we face."

The experiences his father faced in residential schools launched him on a journey that would eventually see him find healing on a personal level, but also work to bring different communities, Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities together and build better relationships, shared Kinew.

"I wanted to share that personal story in the hopes that it could start a conversation with the people there about how we can improve Manitoba and Canada and be better neighbours to one another."

Kinew acknowledges that these are difficult conversations, but it's important to continue to have them. He explains it's not about making people feel guilty, it's about taking the feelings you may have and using that to apply to today.

Reconciliation is about being good neighbours says Kinew and sometimes brothers and sisters. This was shown in the relationships his father as an Indigenous spiritual person built with the archbishop at the time.

"Even though over the course of their life they had been separated into different categories based on whether they were Indigenous or not or different categories of faith or tradition. By the end of their journey together they learned they were brothers and friends."

Kinew says he was impressed with the reception in Morden, with plenty of interesting questions, and was an overall amazing experience. "I took just as much, maybe more, out of that conversation with people in the audience."