LIRR Digest, Dec 2, 2014

Hello friends,

If you have not yet searched out Paulette Regan’s book “Unsettling the Settler Within, you might ask for it under the Christmas tree!  Dr. Regan, a former federal residential-schools-claims manager (who was at the table with the UCC in the Hazelton pilot project with Gitxsan survivors of the Edmonton IRS), argues that “in order to truly participate in the transformative possibilities of reconciliation, non-Aboriginal Canadians must undergo their own process of decolonization. They must relinquish the persistent myth of themselves as peacemakers and acknowledge the destructive legacy of a society that has stubbornly ignored and devalued Indigenous experience.”  This will mean becoming unsettled within.

Recently I read this in the spiritual directors’ journal “Presence”:  Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited with saying that everyone wants to be settled, but only insofar as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.  When offering spiritual direction with those who are uncertain what they believe, it is important to allow them to settle into their unsettled state.  We must give them room to wander through their doubts and discouragements, their angst and anger, always affirming not only that this is the way home, but that this way is home.”

Some words to ponder as we continue in the Advent  journey of birthing new relationships, light our candles of hope, and make room for wanderers.

“The problem is not the Aboriginal Peoples. It is us.”

Reporter Haroon Siddiqui offers highlights from John Ralston Saul’s launch of his latest book “The Comeback.”

The media tell us only about alcoholism, glue-sniffing, Third World poverty, aboriginal over-representation in jails, the unsolved murder or disappearance of 1,180 aboriginal women, and the profligate ways of some chiefs, which the Harperites publicize to suggest that’s the norm among Indian leaders.

“Did anyone bother to compare the percentage of overpaid chiefs with the percentage of overpaid CEOs in the private sector? Or corrupt and incompetent mayors? Or badly behaving lawyers?” asks Saul.

We are either indifferent to the indigenous peoples or sympathetic to them. But they do not want our sympathy. They want their rights — as spelled out in the treaties between them and the Crown.”

Aboriginal Awareness Training

Kaisa McCandless, co-chair of the Reconciliation Committee for Vancouver-Burrard Presbytery says the courses offered online and the workshops on Aboriginal Awareness Training, and Working Effectively with Aboriginal Peoples are fabulous.  Although they are geared for ‘corporations”,  the information seems basic to everyone’s understanding of pre-contact lifestyles, treaties and the law in regards to Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. The programs are offered by Bob Joseph, son of Chief Bobby Joseph who is the shining light who inspires Reconciliation Canada.  See   and for course outlines and a video of a Bob Joseph presentation. Some of the online courses are free – you can contact Cynthia Joseph with any questions  (v/f) 888-986-4055  email:

BC Court Cases Related to Resource Projects

There are 38 court cases under way or recently concluded in British Columbia related to resource projects that total more than $25-billion in investment value. This article provides a closer look at the legal proceedings, many mounted by First Nations, surrounding 11 resource projects, the majority related to Northern Gateway pipeline and Trans Mountain pipeline.

The Pull Together campaign has raised over $267,000 (89% of goal) to assist 6 BC First Nations in seeking a judicial review of decisions surrounding Northern Gateway proposal.
See the United Church Take Action

Clyde River Inuit, Nunuvat disputes National Energy Board decision – re seismic and narwhales

For more details regarding another landmark court case, this time in the Arctic, see

If you wish to sign a letter of petition supporting Clyde River claimants to Prime Minister Harper and CEO of the National Energy Board Peter Watson, see

Haisla First Nation in Kitamaat, BC engaged in LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) project proposals

The United Church community in Kitamaat Village, and the town of Kitamaat are ministering in a situation fraught with many conflicting values, needs, worldviews, and aspirations.

Let us pray together to seek understanding, and the good path for all our relations.   See this article for an overview of the Haisla proposal for an LNG project in the Douglas Channel.

“An aboriginal group keen to export liquefied natural gas has its sights set on B.C. property slated for the Northern Gateway bitumen terminal, highlighting the troubles faced by oil pipeline plans.

The northern B.C. location for the planned Kitimat-area terminal would be an ideal venue for a native-led LNG project, according to the Haisla First Nation. The Haisla are devising LNG proposals against a backdrop of vocal opposition in British Columbia against Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway and protests against Kinder Morgan Canada Inc.’s plans to nearly triple its Trans Mountain oil pipeline capacity from Edmonton to the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby.”

Attawapiskat Asked to Repay $1.8M in Housing Money

For more details regarding the recent request by Aboriginal Affairs to Attawapiskat First Nation to return $1.8 million dollars in housing money, following an extensive audit, see  

Pam Palmater – Blog on Bill C-27 FN Financial Transparency Act

Pam Palmater is always good for a sharp critique of stereotypes and assumptions regarding ‘Indians’ underlying government and organizational policies.

See this blog busting the myth of the ‘crooked Indian” at play in development of the FN Financial Transparency Act.

Food Crisis in Nunavut

APTN Investigates did a major story “Wasting Away” on exorbitant food prices in Nunavut, and availability of fresh food. By all accounts, the federal Nutrition North program is a failure, and has been a hot topic in question period of the House of Commons.  KAIROS Indigenous Rights Circle has been grappling with approaches to food security for Inuit families.

Reconciliation Canada newsletter

Reconciliation Canada, hosts of the big walk in Vancouver at the end of the sixth national TRC event, are planning another walk in Ottawa on Sunday, May 31 in conjunction with TRC wind-up events and launch into the post-TRC era.   To stay up to date on their good works,  especially community Reconciliation Dialogue workshops or Kitchen Table Dialogues, check out their latest newsletter:

Please feel free to pass this digest onto any readers who may be interested. Thank you to all those who have taken a moment to provide comments and point me to other resources.

 In Advent hope,
Cecile Fausak

Liaison Minister: Residential Schools
General Council Office: Committee on Indigenous Justice and Residential Schools
780-676-0562 (office cell)
780-675-7753 (Athabasca, AB home office)


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