For many of us who attended worship services this past Sunday, we will have heard the words of John the Baptist, preparing the way, proclaiming ‘a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.’ (Mark 1:1-8). And this week we will likely hear them again, this time from the Gospel of John 1:6-8, 19-28. One definition of reconciliation that I have quoted often comes from Marie Fortune: Reconciliation is when repentance meets forgiveness. “If justice is the right relation between persons, then reconciliation is the making of justice where there was injustice. Reconciliation happens when the offender repents and the injured forgives, creating the possibility of a new relationship. Forgiveness alone or repentance alone cannot accomplish reconciliation. But
when both meet, the possibility is real. No longer, then, is the victim or the offender defined by the offense, but once again are two persons whose brokenness is healed and who can encounter each other anew.” http://www.faithtrustinstitute.org (has done much work on sexual abuse by clergy)
Repentance calls for real change, led by the Spirit – in Advent we are called to prepare by removing the obstacles in the path of reconciliation. The Seasons of the Spirit commentary says “John the Baptizer models a response: renouncement of materialism, and courageous truth-telling.” It occurred to me that the TRC has helped us to share many truths not spoken of previously, relating to the operation of Indian Residential School system, and its impacts; and opened us to sharing other painful aspects of our shared history in Canada. But what about “renouncement of materialism”? How has that been part of the church’s response in living out its apology? Do we need to be making reparations and restitution, and redistributing wealth to a much greater extent? Can we be more intentional in rejecting consumerism as the premise of expanding Empires and destruction of creation at the particular expense of Indigenous peoples? Something to ponder… as you read on.
Courts not the best option for improving relations
Winnipeg Free Press – Nov 27, 2014
The question at the heart of these legal treaty challenges is, as lawyer Peter Hutchins posed: “Do we want to live in a country founded on conquest, or in a country founded on collaborative effort?” Dating back to when treaties were signed, First Nations viewed them as marriage documents and the formal beginning of an enduring relationship of mutual obligation.
BOOK: RESOURCE RULERS: FORTUNE AND FOLLY ON CANADA’S ROAD TO RESOURCES
Thanks for Kaisa McCandless for pointing us to this book by Bill Gallagher on the rise of Native empowerment in resource industries.
Reviewer Lisa Charleyboy says this: The book gives an overview of the legal “winning streak” that Aboriginal people are having in the resource sector, from forestry, to energy, to oil and gas, and mining. Finally I was able to see these industries from a bird’s eye view over the implications and issues in the Aboriginal context. … The book is an intense read full of fact and laden with excerpts from news articles, speeches, reports and court cases. But don’t let that frighten you off. If you’re interested in the future of Canada, the Canadian economy, the resource based project developments that are happening all over this country and on Aboriginal territory, then you’ll want to pick this book up and give it a read.
See more at: http://urbannativemag.com/resource-rulers-fortune-and-folly-on-canadas-road-to-resources/
BC FIRST NATIONS TAKING THE REINS
Globe and Mail – Dec. 5, 2014
A group of B.C. First Nations has joined forces in hopes of taking the reins on natural gas and mining projects in the province’s resource-rich north, including Nadleh Whut’en First Nation, Gitxsan, and Wet’suwet’en – a historic agreement, empowered by the Supreme Court of Canada decision in June which ruled in favour of the Tsilhqot’in Nation, awarding them Aboriginal title to land.
First Nations agree to pursue aboriginal ownership share of BC resource projects
ON THE LINE: DOCUMENTARY OF THE ROUTE OF NORTHERN GATEWAY PIPELINE
Follow Frank Wolf and Todd McGowan on a 2,400 km journey by foot, bike, raft, and kayak as they focus on the people and landscapes that would be affected by Enbridge’s Northern Gateway proposed pipeline. West Point Grey UC saw it and recommended it. http://www.onthelinemovie.com/p/route-map-film-one-hour-aired.html
FREE WEBINAR – RE TSILHQOT’IN AND GRASSY NARROWS COURT DECISIONS
Thanks to “Working Effectively with Aboriginal Peoples”, you can partake in a webinar offered by Karey Brooks and Jeff Langlois of JFK Law Corporation on the recent Tsilhqot’in and Grassy Narrows court cases. The presentation helps to clarify the key findings of the law, including the extent and scope of Aboriginal title, the duty to consult, and the role of the Provinces in establishing laws over the land base, both on treaty and non-treaty lands. http://www.ictinc.ca/blog/tsilhqotin-and-grassy-narrows-webinar
ALLIES AND SOLIDARITY – VIDEOS FROM CENTRE FOR CHRISTIAN STUDIES & SANDY SAULTEAUX SPIRITUAL CENTRE
On the second Friday of each month in 2014, the Centre for Christian Studies and Sandy Saulteaux Spiritual Centre have hosted a reflections on common themes from Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal perspectives. All of them are videotaped and posted for your viewing and learning – use them to spark discussion in your own groups. See the line-up of topics and speakers at www.ccsonline.ca/second-fridays
On November 14, the speakers responded to the question “What does it mean to be an Ally?”
Listen to Michael Champagne, organizer of Winnipeg’s Aboriginal Youth Opportunities and serving several North End organizations: When I see and hear that “You need me now”, as an ally, I respond now. And Rev. Mary Lysecki at St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Parish
On October 10, Peter Atkinson from the Manitoba Treaty Relations Committee elaborated on the meaning of “All My Relations”.
On September 12, the guests were Stan McKay and Melanie Kampen on the theme “The Context of the Land”.
NFB FILM ‘TRICK or TREATY?’
Recommended by Jim Sinclair, this feature documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin (also Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance) was recently shown at North Bay’s Capital Centre.
To see the trailer, go to https://www.nfb.ca/film/trick_or_treaty
“It profiles Indigenous leaders in their quest for justice as they seek to establish dialogue with the Canadian government. By tracing the history of their ancestors since the signing of Treaty 9, these leaders aim to raise awareness about issues vital to First Nations in Canada: respect for and protection of their lands and their natural resources, and the right to hunt and fish so that their societies can prosper. In recent years, an awareness-raising movement has been surfacing in First Nations communities. In this powerful documentary, those who refuse to surrender are given a chance to speak out.”
NFB says the film will be available on March 17,2015 on VOD and DTO in Canada only. The DVD will be there shortly after that.
“BUILDING INCLUSION OF INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE: UNSETTLING THE SETTLER” – PROGRAM AT TATAMAGOUCHE CENTRE, NS June 11-12, 2015.
Explore how the systemic effects of colonization that create and perpetuate poverty, racism and violence can be countered through the meaningful inclusion of Indigenous knowledge, values, language and community participation. Through the use of popular education strategies, community-based methods of decolonization are discussed. Discover how your life, work, services and projects can benefit from decolonization and honouring of Indigenous wisdom and practice, thereby supporting your role in “becoming an ally”. This is an opportunity to change our relationship with each other and with the land.
The leaders are Miigam’agan, Mi’kmaw traditional teacher and spiritual leader; and Carla Lewis, from the Bear/Wolf clan, tracing her matrilineage back through the Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan peoples, with a Masters degree in Indigenous Governance (Uvictoria)
Program Cost: $450 (tuition, meals & accommodation)
For more info on this program and others at Tatamagouche Centre, Nova Scotia, and to register: https://www.tatacentre.ca/index.php/programs/details/2271
In Advent hope and peace,
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)