Hello to everyone on the journey of healing and reconciliation,
I am writing from Lethbridge. Yesterday I participated in an event on the Blackfoot Blood reserve with the Kanai Nation and representatives from the four churches who operated residential schools. It was called “Kamotani” which organizer Dolly Creighton explained was the closest word for reconciliation in her language, and meant “recovery.” We saw a dance theatre performance called “New Blood” portraying the story of Chief Vincent Yellow Oldwoman – what a moving experience, and so good that Vincent and the producer and all the caste were able to converse with the audience afterward. I could say much more, but gratitude is uppermost. Thanks to Gerry Dyck, from Coaldale United Church, who took a strong part in making it a good day, and to past Moderator Bill Phipps for offering strong words of apology and commitment to live out that apology through responding to the TRC Calls to Action. Now I am off to the KAIROS Prairies North regional gathering. I encourage you all to connect with other folks ecumenically in your community who are passionate about indigenous justice, and use the many excellent KAIROS resources.
REGISTER NOW! FREE WEBINAR Sept. 29 7 – 8:30 pm EST “WE ARE ALL TREATY PEOPLE”
Our presenters will explore what it means to exercise the rights and responsibilities of being party to treaties today, and in nation-to-nation relationships.
The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996) said “by reconciliation we mean more than just giving effect to a treaty hunting right or securing the restoration of reserve land taken unfairly or illegally in the past. It means embracing the spirit and intent of the treaty relationship itself, a relationship of mutual trust and loyalty, as the framework for a vibrant and respectful new relationship between peoples.”
The Truth and Reconciliation Findings refer to Treaties in Calls to Action 10, 14, 18, 24, 27, 42, 45, 46iv, 57, 86, 92. Embracing treaties is a basic tenet of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which the TRC has recommended as a framework for reconciliation.
Our presenters will help us to consider some next steps for the church as we more fully embrace the spirit and intent of treaty relationship, and journey towards reconciliation.
You can access the registration form here:
We encourage you to gather in groups, for a richer discussion and learning experience.
The webinar will be recorded and I will provide you with a link to the recording after Sept. 29.
TAKE ACTION – JUSTICE FOR MISSING AND MURDERED INDIGENOUS WOMEN AND GIRLS
We have now put up a new Take Action on murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls, asking people to talk to their candidates about a public inquiry and to pray and participate in vigils on Oct 4.
You can find the location of vigils at
BC NATIONS IN COURT Oct. 1 CHALLENGING ENBRIDGE – PULL TOGETHER CAMPAIGN
Barbara Wilson, who is the interim chair of the Committee on Indigenous Justice and Residential Schools, is a member of the Haida Nation. The Haida nation will be presenting its arguments, along with 12 other applicants, to the Federal Court of Appeal, October 1, 2, and 5. The applicants are: Gitga’at First Nation, Gitxaala Nation, Haida Nation, Haisla Nation, Heiltsuk Nation, Kitasoo/Xai’Xais Nation, Nadleh Whut’en, Nak’azdli Whut’en, BC Nature, Forest Ethics Advocacy Association, Living Oceans Society, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, and Unifor. You will recall that the United Church has been supportive of a fundraising campaign “Pull Together” to raise $600,000. So far, $529,500 has been donated. For more details of the campaign, and to contribute, go to http://pull-together.ca/ .
Enbridge, the Attorney General of Canada and the National Energy Board will present on October 6, 7, 8. The applicants are seeking to have the federal cabinets decision approving the Northern Gateway project ruled invalid based on arguments that include: infringement of Aboriginal title and rights, breaches of the duty to consult and accommodate, the Joint Review Panel’s inadequate consideration of issues relating to First Nations, effects on wildlife, inadequate evaluation of the public interest, and, inadequate evaluation and response to risks and impacts.
Support from citizens and friends of the BC Nations going to court is greatly appreciated. The Federal Court of Appeal is located at the Pacific Centre 701 W Georgia St., Vancouver.
The UCC Take Action is at http://www.united-church.ca/getinvolved/takeaction/141107
KAIROS ‘STRENGTH FOR CLIMBING’ RESOURCE BOOKLET
If you haven’t downloaded your copy or ordered several copies for your group or congregation yet, take a look at this great resource booklet from KAIROS, providing many ideas on how you can take steps on the journey of reconciliation.
WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES FEATURE: Marie Wilson and “Children are the heroes”
Kristine Greenaway, responsible for Ministries in French, helped to obtain interviews with Commissioner Marie Wilson, AFN Chief Perry Bellegarde, and past chair of the Aboriginal Ministries Council and former Edmonton IRS student, Ray Jones, for the World Council of Churches press. Check this link for the interview with Marie. The other two interviews will be published within the next two weeks.
RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL MONUMENT UNVEILED IN SECHELT
Shishalh Nation Chief and Council invited the public to an unveiling on Sept. 19 of a red granite monument dedicated to the students and families who attended the Sechelt Indian Residential School on the BC Sunshine Coast – a beautiful carving of a grandmother holding the hands of her child. It will be located in a cedar kiosk on the original site of the IRS. Fundraising appears to be ongoing. Anglican and United Church folk in Sechelt have been involved in many reconciliation gatherings in the area over the years. See http://vancouver.anglican.ca/events/monument-unveiling-in-sechelt
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)