Warm October greetings!
The results of the election have brought Canada hope that we will be experiencing “a renewed nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples that respects rights and honours treaties as the basis for how we work to close the gap and walk forward together” as per the Prime Minister Designate’s words. Thanks to all of you who asked questions of your federal candidates on Aboriginal issues and implementation of the TRC recommendations and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Our voices for justice need to keep speaking clearly.
In statements at General Council 42, and to the World Council of Churches (see interview link below), National Chief Perry Bellegarde pointed this out: A number of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action are related to concerns for child welfare, education, and health in indigenous communities. “Indigenous leaders will be watching for proof of church involvement in pushing for implementation of strategies to improve the quality of life of aboriginal people. Benchmarks, according to Bellegarde, will include partnership relationships created between Christian faith communities and aboriginal communities, the number of letters sent to the prime minister in support of TRC recommendations and how many visits to provincial premiers have been initiated.”
SASKATOON DECLARES YEAR OF RECONCILIATION
I just learned that the City of Saskatoon declared a Year of Reconciliation beginning July 1, 2015. Great encouragement to more municipalities to do likewise. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report issued 94 recommendations, nine of which apply directly and indirectly to municipal levels of government. The areas include language and culture, health, reconciliation, repudiation of European sovereignty, training for public servants, missing children and burial information, national Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and sports reconciliation. (Recommendations 17, 23, 43, 47, 57, 75, 77, 87, 88) http://www.otc.ca/news/saskatoon-declares-year-of-reconciliation
COURAGE OF OUR CONVICTIONS: PETER AND ESTHER
This is an inspiring sermon by Jennifer Henry, KAIROS Executive Director. The “Peter” she refers to is Dr. Peter Bryce who was the federal medical officer of health who blew the whistle on the high death rate of children in residential schools in the early 1900’s, and lost his job. Let us have the same courage of our convictions in seeking justice for Aboriginal children today.
KAIROS ‘WINDS OF CHANGE’ CAMPAIGN to be FULLY LAUNCHED at end of OCTOBER
Watch for various actions you can take to advocate for the mandatory inclusion of the history of residential schools and Aboriginal peoples in school curricula.
SECOND REGINA INDUSTRIAL SCHOOL MEMORIAL WALK
The second walk to remember the children who died at Regina Industrial School and were buried in the associated cemetery was held Oct.10. United and Presbyterian church folk have been working with First Nations and the City of Regina to research and preserve this unmarked graveyard.
“WE CAN NOW REFLOAT THE CANOE” and other interviews for World Council of Churches
Ray Jones, survivor on the Committee on Indigenous Justice and Residential Schools reflects on the meaning of reconciliation in this interview with the World Council of Churches.
In case you missed the previous two interviews done by Kristine Greenaway and published in the World Council of Churches News, with Commissioner Marie Wilson and National Chief Perry Bellegarde, check them out here:
http://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/201cchildren-are-the-heroes-of-the-aboriginal-residential-schools-story201d (Sept. 25) and
INADEQUACIES IN NATIONAL ENERGY BOARD PROCESS RAISE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS ABOUT ENERGY EAST PIPELINE
Unilateral cuts to participant funding by half in the National Energy Board (“NEB”) hearings for the Energy East Pipeline have raised grave concerns for First Nations about how they can participate in this process in a meaningful way. Three New Brunswick First Nations in the NEB review are particularly concerned. OTK lawyers explain the issues:
ENSURING ‘FREE, PRIOR, AND INFORMED CONSENT’ (FPIC) BECOMES A PRACTICAL REALITY
The Boreal Leadership Council (“BLC”) released a report in late September Understanding Successful Approaches to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent in Canada, urging both the Canadian government and industry proponents to implement FPIC when working with Indigenous groups. This report is another instance amongst the mounting international efforts and evolving court direction in support of FPIC.
OTK lawyers reviewed the BLC report saying this: “The BLC report thus helps to point out that all members of Canadian society have a role to play in understanding what it means in the eyes and minds of Indigenous groups to have consent and walk hand in hand as partners. Interestingly, this theme is echoed in many of the final recommendations of the TRC, which challenges many sectors of Canadian society to think about what meaningful Indigenous self-determination means (in education or church structures, for instance).
In the end, FPIC is a standard that should extend beyond just the government and industry level, and be applied within levels of civil society, including education systems and religious groups. The BLC report provides good stepping stones for thinking, practically, about what meaningful Indigenous consent entails.”
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)