Dear friends on the journey of reconciliation,
This has been a momentous week in ecumenical circles in looking at the TRC Calls to Action.
KAIROS Indigenous Rights Circle met on Nov. 15-16 in Toronto. A significant move was the appointment of two of its Indigenous members to the KAIROS Board where there has previously been no Indigenous voice. We also welcomed a presentation from the Christian Peacemakers Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Team based in Toronto. They reported in particular on the support they have been offering this month to the Haudenosaunee during the deer hunt at Short Hills Provincial Park near St. Catherines, ON.
“Peoples of Faith Moving Forward in Reconciliation” – Then on Nov. 17-18, 60 people, including about 15 Indigenous people from over a dozen spiritual traditions and organizations met at Manresa Jesuit Retreat Centre in Pickering, ON to converse about how they had arrived at this moment in the reconciliation journey, and in what ways we might collaborate in responding to the TRC Calls to Action. It was a Spirit-filled gathering, and there are 15 proposals about work we might do together. With a deadline included in the TRC Call to Action #48 regarding the churches’ reporting by March 31, 2016 on the adoption and compliance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we hope to get a better sense of the nature of our collaborative response by December 15. The participants are seeking feedback from their organizations on the other 14 proposals by January 15.
MANDATE LETTER TO INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS MINISTER
The Prime Minister’s mandate letter to Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett offers much hope for significant steps in resetting the relationship, and responding to many of the TRC Calls to Action.
CONCRETE FEDERAL ACTION ON RECONCILIATION BY JULY 1, 2017
Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett gave her department a deadline of July 1, 2017, to deliver concrete progress on reconciliation with the Indigenous peoples of the country. This is when Canada will mark its 150th anniversary.
CONSULTATIONS TO LEAD TO ESTABLISHING PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO MMIWG
The Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett, and the Minister of Status of Women Patricia Hadju both reject the view that Aboriginal men are largely to blame for missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls, and that a more systemic analysis is needed. “In fact, the RCMP found indigenous women ‘slightly less likely to be killed by an intimate partner than the non-indigenous community’. Fooling around with those kind of facts is really unhelpful.”
OIL TANKER NORTH COAST TRAFFIC MORATORIUM
Last week the UCC signed on to what was supposed to be a letter to PM Trudeau urging him to honour old LPC legislation (and this year’s election promises) to ban tanker traffic off the northern BC coast and end the Northern Gateway pipeline. This was consistent with a motion originating in BC Native Ministries and commended by ANCC to a GC 41 (2012). Thanks to instructions in the PM’s mandate to Minister of Transport Marc Garneau, the letter became a thank you instead. While not a complete ban on oil tanker traffic, we now have a moratorium. Please find more information in the links below.
RAVEN TRUST RAISING FUNDS FOR LEGAL CHALLENGES
The West Moberly and Prophet River Bands were in BC Provincial Court this week, initiating their push-back on BC Hydro Permits for the building of the Site C Dam, which were issued without due consultation. RAVEN Trust is currently raising funds for them and 10 other tribes who are undertaking legal actions to defend their rights, their traditional territories, and the environment that nurtures us all. You can learn more and donate here: http://raventrust.com
MANITOBA FIRST NATIONS IN DIRE LIVING CONDITIONS
There is a United Church ministry, part of All Native Circle Conference, in Wasagamack, a community featured in this story about the living conditions of First Nations in Manitoba. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/manitoba-one-of-worst-places-for-first-nations-to-live-1.2936622
On November 20, National Child’s Day, let us offer special prayers for Aboriginal children who suffer so much injustice in Canada.
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)