As we begin the journey to Bethlehem once again, and hear the invitation to the journey of reconciliation in our times, I was struck by this bit of ‘sacred trip advice’: “Think of this as a pilgrimage – a journey that is holy not because of the destination, but because of your attentiveness.” (Weavings, Vol.XXX, No.4 p.17). While the reference is to a physical retreat, I think it applies just as well to the spiritual steps we take in mending our relationships, and creating new ones. In this season of Advent, I pray we may be attentive to all our companions on the road and where there is a need for healing.
Adele Halliday, UCC Church in Mission Unit, invites us to join the Pilgrimage for Justice and Peace on the theme of ‘reconciliation’ this year, and think about visiting a former residential school site, and neighbouring First Nations. https://www.facebook.com/UnitedAction/photos/a.354451924606739.94700.143580905693843/1059175617467696/?type=3&theater&utm_source=E-Newsletters&utm_campaign=b6f0f0e9ac-UAJ151123&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_53a49c9e28-b6f0f0e9ac-188367665
General Council staff took a trip to the beautiful memorial at the Mount Elgin IRS site on June 22, 2015, and met with some members of the Chippewas of the Thames. It portrays the 7 sacred teachings, and the names of some 700 students at the school are etched on the marble slabs. If you can’t visit a physical site, you might do it ‘virtually’ by seeing photos at www.thechildrenremembered.ca and listening to survivor testimony www.nctr.ca
A BLOG ABOUT READING THE TRC REPORT:
A City of Edmonton employee, started a reading club for city employees to read the TRC report. About 12 employees from across departments got together every Monday at lunch hour to process chunks of the executive summary together and ask questions about how to personally implement the calls to action.
One of the members of the reading club decided to post about her experience reading the report and encourage others to read it as well. It is an excellent resource to get people started.
One of the references is to an essay “Why Non-Indigenous Canadians Need to Share the Burden and Historical Legacies of the Residential School System” http://49thshelf.com/Blog/2015/09/30/Why-Non-Indigenous-Canadians-Need-to-Share-the-Burden-and-Historical-Legacies-of-the-Residential-School-System
Also a good read “What’s Missing from the Conversation on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women” by Colleen Hele, Naomi Sayers, and Jessica Wood.
KAIROS STRATEGIC PLAN EMPHASIZES RECONCILIATION AND INDIGENOUS RIGHTS, NEEDS FUNDS
At its October Board meeting, KAIROS unanimously adopted a new 5-year Strategic Plan: Animated by the Spirit for God’s New Community of Hope. If you appreciate all the great work KAIROS does, please consider making a personal donation. https://www.gifttool.com/donations/Donate?ID=1992&AID=1663
They are predicting a deficit budget in 2016.
COP21 – PROTECTING INDIGENOUS RIGHTS
Forty people from the global North, including 2 KAIROS Indigenous Rights Circle members, and Springwater Hester-Meawassige from the UC Aboriginal Ministries Circle, gathered above the Arctic Circle in Storforsen, Sami Territory, Sweden in mid-October. They were there to raise-up stories of how climate change is currently impacting people in the Arctic, and the spiritual nature of the impact. The COP21 outcome document will lead to international laws and policies that will affect us all, but as TRC Commissioner Chief Wilton Littlechild pointed out in Storforsen, protections for the inclusion of the voices of women, intergenerational equity (youth and elders) and Indigenous Peoples, may get dropped from the Paris outcome document. As such, Chief Littlechild, who is also a member of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, along with colleagues in the Arctic Caucus, the Pacific Caucus, and the Women’s Caucus, is calling for the following paragraph to made operative in the Paris COP21 outcome document:
All Parties shall, in all climate change related actions, respect, protect, and fulfil human rights for all, including the rights of indigenous peoples, gender equality and the full and equal participation of women, food security and intergenerational equity as well as a just transition of the work force that creates decent work and quality jobs and upholds the integrity and resilience of natural ecosystems
Readers are asked to please email #MakeItOperative to MakeItOperative@aol.com – or tweet, post, send out #MakeItOperative through your Twitter, Facebook or Instagram along with Chief Littlechild. If readers are able, contact politicians going to COP21 and ask them to show their public commitment to #MakeItOperative. Please ask your contacts to take action as well. http://www.kairoscanada.org/blog/cop21-call-for-brave-action-bold-decisions
Meet the UCC delegates to COP21 including Barbara Wilson from Haida Gwaii, chair of the UCC Committee on Indigenous Justice and Residential Schools.
THE FORGOTTEN METIS
Joan Jarvis, Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario Conference Justice Staff minister, wrote that she attended the launch of an exhibit called “FORGOTTEN: The Metis Residential School Experience” at the Museum for Human Rights. This exhibit was developed by the Legacy of Hope Foundation in collaboration with curator Gregory Scofield and advisors. It will be touring across the country. You might want to check this online exhibit at http://ForgottenMetis.ca. This downloadable book will give you lots of history, and explain why Metis were not part of the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement: “Metis History and Experience and Residential Schools in Canada” http://www.ahf.ca/downloads/metiseweb.pdf
RULING IN NFLD RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS CASE SAYS CANADA ‘ABUSED’ PROCESS
Supreme Court Judge Robert Stack has ruled that the federal government has abused the process in a class action lawsuit involving former residents of residential schools in Newfoundland and Labrador, who were excluded from the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. Canada had argued that the NFDL schools were not created under the Indian Act and therefore were not true residential schools. The schools were created before Newfoundland entered Confederation in 1949.
NEW FILM: THE PASS SYSTEM
This documentary, produced by Alex Williams, uncovers a dark period in Canadian history (1880- 1930’s), when Indians needed a signed pass if they wanted to travel off reserves. The film launched on Nov. 25 at University of Regina. Shauneen Pete relates a story from her family. She is Associate Professor (Aboriginal Education) and Executive Lead of Indigenization at the University of Regina.
EXHIBIT OF PHOTOGRAPHS OF REMAINS OF CHURCHES IN FIRST NATIONS COMMUNITIES
Brian Kipp set out over 3 years to photograph part of the story of colonization by documenting the church buildings that still exist in many First Nations communities.
The photo exhibit is currently in Kamloops, but expects to travel at least in BC.
GIVE THE GIFT OF RECONCILIATION
Here’s an opportunity to donate to making something great happen: a Multicultural Survivors’ Gathering – Envisioning a New Canada.
This event will bring together multicultural survivors of historical injustices. Participating Elders will inform the programs and initiatives of Reconciliation Canada as we approach Canada’s 150thanniversary.
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)