LIRR Digest – June 30, 2015

Greetings for Canada Day to this company of travellers on the journey of reconciliation,

On June 22, some 59 General Council United Church staff went on a Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, and journeyed together to the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, near London, Ontario. It was a very meaningful visit to the Mount Elgin Residential School Memorial Site, and was an opportunity for reconciliation and relationship building just after National Aboriginal Day. Adele Halliday, Program Coordinator for Inter-Cultural Engagement and Education,  said she was  “deeply grateful for the day, the insights, and the church’s continued commitment to work towards right relations with Indigenous communities.”

The next day, Adele and I were on a teleconference call with LIRR Network representatives from 9 of the 13 Conferences.  We heard many inspiring and exciting stories of what occurred around the TRC closing activities and Aboriginal Day, and plans for responding to the TRC Calls to Action.  Some of these stories will be carried in the July issue of our newsletter “Turning the Page Together” and in the November issue of Mandate.   The road to reconciliation is filled with many ‘walkers’!  There was a request for General Council staff to provide a simple guide for congregations to the TRC Calls to Action, as well as making the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples more accessible, including how it can be used as a framework for reconciliation, which was referred to many times in the TRC Calls to Action.   Materials are needed for all ages.  Another teleconference call will be convened to discuss more ideas on the theme of ‘Pilgrimage for Peace and Justice” and visiting IRS sites, and Aboriginal communities.

SASKATCHEWAN GROUPS ACT ON RECONCILIATION PROMISES
Mayfair and Meewasin Valley UC are mentioned in this story.
http://www.thestarphoenix.com/life/Sask+groups+reconciliation+promises/11146364/story.html
It also refers to the UCC statement “Affirming Other Spiritual Paths.”  See below.

VALUING ABORIGINAL SPIRITUALITY
General Secretary Nora Sanders was interviewed by CBC along with Anglican Native Bishop Mark McDonald and RC Bishop Murray Chatlain for the Diocese of Keewatin-Le Pas.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/churches-face-challenge-in-trc-call-to-value-aboriginal-spirituality-1.3124562

The UCC statement can be found at http://www.united-church.ca/files/aboriginal/schools/affirming-other-spiritual-paths.pdf

“DISMANTLING THE DOCTRINE OF DISCOVERY” WORKSHOP
On June 1, along with moderator Danika Littlechild, panelists Chief Ed John from BC, Stuart Wuttke (AFN), Jennifer Preston (Quaker) and Bishop Mark MacDonald (Anglican) offered challenging thoughts about how the Doctrine of Discovery is still operative in Canadian life.  TRC Calls to Action #45,46,and 47 refer to repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery as steps on the road to reconciliation.   You can view the hour-long panel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NrjoaFuXk4

At the end of August, an invited group of UCC educators/learners will be together to discern how the Doctrine of Discovery continues to undergird our lives and operate in church and society; and begin to develop resources to help congregations do likewise.  The Canadian Ecumenical Anti-Racism Network is also in the process of designing a their next resource on the same theme.

ALBERTA GOV’T APOLOGIZES FOR IRS LEGACY, and MANITOBA FOR SIXTIES SCOOP
Premier Notley apologized for the silence of the provincial legislature while the residential school system operated, and supported the call for a public inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Her government had previously committed to adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/edmonton/apologize+Alberta+government+sorry+legacy+residential+schools/11157534/story.html

Last week, Manitoba became the first province to apologize for the practice of removing thousands aboriginal adoptees from their families and placing them in non-native homes in what came to be known as the Sixties Scoop.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/greg-selinger-manitoba-premier-apologizes-for-sixties-scoop-1.3118049

25 YEARS SINCE OKA
Author Tseporah Berman begins  “Twenty-five years ago, I sat in the auditorium of the Royal Ontario Museum with tears streaming down my face as I listened to Ellen Gabriel of Kahnesetake First Nations say: ‘Oka is not about a golf course. It is about children being torn away from their families and put in residential schools. It’s about our communities struggling for decades for basic rights, for self determination, for justice.’ That night, my view of the world, my view of the country I live in and my own history changed forever. “
http://www.nationalobserver.com/2015/06/22/opinion/twenty-five-years-oka-do-we-have-courage-recognize-injustice-and-act

MOHAWK INSTITUTE IRS RESTORATION PROJECT IN BRANTFORD, ON
United Church members of Six Nations, Brantford, and beyond are familiar with the legacy of this Anglican-run Indian residential school.  The hope is to re-purpose the “mush hole,” transforming it into a “living” testament to educate Canadians about First Nations’ history and the residential school system.
http://aptn.ca/news/2015/06/25/brantford-contributes-220k-towards-mohawk-institute-restoration-project/

TRC HONORARY WITNESS JOSEPH BOYDEN REFLECTS ON TRC
Award-winning author Joseph Boyden writes about truth, reconciliation, and a callous, uncaring government response, particularly in regards to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. “Where’d you go to school? Asking any other Canadian this is the most casual and even entertaining way of entering a conversation. Ask a First Nations person my age or older and you’re opening up a Pandora’s box of pain. Think about that for a second.”
http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/first-came-truth-now-comes-the-hard-part/

CANADIAN ROOTS EXCHANGE FILM “WALK-A-MILE”
Canadian Roots Exchange & Lakehead University Aboriginal Initiatives presents:
Walk-A-Mile Film 1 & 5 Screening & Training
Date: Monday June 29, 2015  6 pm
Find out more: https://www.facebook.com/511045755634564/photos/a.514429241962882.1073741829.511045755634564/872850926120710/?type=1&theater

“THE WATERSHED” PLAY
From the creators of the acclaimed SEEDS, Crow’s Theatre and Porte Parole (Montreal), The Watershed follows an artist and a country struggling to chart a sustainable course between economic growth and environmental stewardship.  In The Watershed, Annabel, a Montreal documentary theatre artist, leads her own family on a cross-country journey, investigating the forces that are shaping the future of our natural resources.  Encountering leading freshwater scientists, government officials, activists and business leaders along the way, The Watershed captures Canada in a moment of acute political reflection in an increasingly polarized landscape.  Premiere at Berkley Street Theatre in Toronto July 7-15, and in Montreal in French, November 2015.   25% discount promo code WATERSHED3
For more info and tickets: http://www.crowstheatre.com/production/current-plays/the-watershed/

 Why not pair attending this play with using the KAIROS workshop “Discipleship in the Watershed”.
Order at http://www.kairoscanada.org/order/watershed-discipleship-workshop/
Acknowledging traditional territory and your local watershed at the beginning of gatherings is a powerful grounding statement.

“IT COULD HAVE BEEN ME” – 13 REMARKABLE WOMEN SHARE THEIR STORIES
http://site.macleans.ca/longform/almost-missing/index.html

In peace,
Cecile Fausak
Reconciliation and Indigenous Justice Animator
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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