LIRR Digest, January 28, 2015

Hello friends,

Fresh sparkling snow and blue skies here in northern Alberta to boost my spirit, and I hope light is appearing through the cracks in your life too.

Here are many items to stimulate the conversation on what does reconciliation mean, and what actions does it require to eliminate racism – so read to the end J


Coming from the Institute for Reconciliation and Justice in South Africa, 5 things you need to know about reconciliation:

  • Reconciliation starts from the premise that we are interdependent
  • The one condition for reconciliation is truth
  • You have to settle the future, before you can settle the past
  • Be aware of the fact that you look through a mask
  • Rather show what’s important for you than talk about it

Dallas, Texas was the scene of the second annual Movement Day on Racial Reconciliation in January,  and an ecumenical conclave “The Reconciled Church: Healing the Racial Divide”.  Pastors made clear statements that racial reconciliation must start with churches. “The gospel moves at the speed of relationships. It’s always been that way,” Pastor Bryan Carter said.  For more thoughts from these gatherings that we in Canadian churches might take a lesson from, see the following:

Why not use these points and thoughts along with the flyer “Truth and Reconciliation: Living out our Commitments” to get the conversation started in your group or congregation.

 NIIGAAN SINCLAIR’S PRESENTATION – Challenges to Christian Theology

The Centre for Christian Studies and the Sandy Saulteaux Spiritual Centre hosted guest speaker Niigaan Sinclair on Jan.9, 2015.  Niigaan, Associate Professor at U of Manitoba and active with Idle No More (father is TRC Chair Justice Sinclair), spoke about the need to move past rigid, boxed-in ‘OR’ thinking toward open and inclusive ‘AND’ thinking if Christians want to join indigenous peoples in creating a fair and just Canada. Learn a bit about early Ojibwe Methodist missionary Peter Jones in part 2.  Nigaan’s presentation in 4 bite-size pieces can be viewed at


At any given time, there are over 100 indigenous communities under water advisories. This article gives a good overview of the issues surrounding the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act, and Canada’s violation of the right to water and sanitation.  Congratulations to Tsal’alhmec, known as “People of the Lake,” (Seton Lake Indian band, BC) on becoming the first Blue Indigenous Community this week. Tsal’alh adopted a resolution with the three criteria needed to become a Blue Community: recognizing the human right to water, banning bottled water at community facilities and events, and promoting public water services. Tsal’alh has joined the 15 Blue Communities in Canada that are taking action to ensure the human right to water is respected.

In 2006, there was a General Council resolution to discourage the purchase of bottled water “starting within its courts and congregations.” It also boldly affirmed its conviction that “water is a sacred gift that connects all life,” and the privatization of water must be avoided.  Let’s renew our efforts to stop the commodification of water.

Listen to AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde address the relationship with Aboriginal Affairs,  the upcoming roundtable on missing and murdered Aboriginal women, and the budget ahead.  In general,  I recommend watching Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, and programs such as “Nation to Nation”,  “Face to Face”, and “APTN Investigates” for Aboriginal views on national issues.


There is a serious lack of knowledge (be it willfully or not) on the part of non-indigenous people concerning the treaties that were signed by First Nations and the Canadian government and what those treaties mean for both indigenous and non-indigenous people. In this interview with Hayden King, the Director of the Center for Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University, some of these gaps in knowledge are addressed. The Tsilhqot’in( in BC) and Keewatin (Grassy Narrows, Ontario) court decisions are explained. While it is by no means an exhaustive look at treaties and treaty relations in Canada and in provinces, it offers some information on both topics that will be useful,  particularly for settlers.


Join Stephen Kakfwi, Joe Clark, and Ovide Mercredi as they speak in Winnipeg about their initiative to forge a new partnership between First Nations people and other Canadians. They want to get ordinary Canadians talking about the problems that divide us, and what reforms we need.

Another CFNP member, former Chief Justice Frank Iacobucci, who negotiated the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement, told a luncheon audience in Timmins that it is about time for mainstream Canadians to start showing more trust and respect to the Aboriginal community. The event was sponsored by the Misiway Milopemahtesewin Community Health Centre. Iacobucci is also the man representing the Government of Ontario for negotiating with the Matawa First Nation tribal council for the Ring Of Fire project. He pointed to the differing understanding of treaties as a big part of the problem of the prevailing lack of trust.


Some people are seeing the tour of the historic documents the Magna Carta, and the companion Charter of the Forest, as an educational opportunity regarding nation-to-nation  relationships with indigenous peoples. Both documents will be the centerpiece of an exhibit based on three themes: History, Legacy and Justice Today.

The Magna Carta Canada 2015 Tour runs from June 11 until Dec. 29:

  • Ottawa, Canadian Museum of History: June 11, 2015 to July 26, 2015
  • Winnipeg, Canadian Museum for Human Rights: Aug. 15, 2015 to Sept. 18, 2015
  • Toronto, Fort York National Historic Site: Oct. 4, 2015-Nov. 7, 2015
  • Edmonton, Legislative Assembly of Alberta Visitor Centre: Nov. 23, 2015 to Dec. 29, 2015


This article makes a good connection between seeking social justice and restoration of indigenous languages.

 In 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)


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