LIRR Digest – December 8, 2015

Advent Greetings,

As I will be taking a Reading Week (maybe to cover a few more pages of the TRC report J), vacation, and Christmas break from December 9 to January 4,  this will be the last Living into Right Relations digest for 2015.  What a year it has been on the journey of truth-telling, healing, seeking justice, and reconciling! My sense of hope that we might truly be able to live in ‘peace and friendship’ in Canada has never been greater.  Those who have sown in tears reap with songs of joy (Ps 126:5).  Love will see us through.  The light of Christ will overcome the darkness of racism.  May it be so for 2016.

On December 15, beginning at 11:30 am Eastern time, and lasting for 2-3 hours, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will be presenting its full Final Report.

Our Moderator, Jordan Cantwell, along with representatives of the other Settlement Agreement parties, have each been asked to make a 5-minute response, and to be part of a news conference to follow.  It is highly likely it will be live-streamed, but we do not have detailed information yet.
You can get tickets for the event at the Shaw Conference Centre in Ottawa at:
So keep watch for further information on our Facebook page or

Alternative media rabble has partnered with Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto to launch a campaign urging Canadians to take up implementing the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a New Year’s resolution for 2016.
The first resolution is “to help eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal youth in custody over the next decade” (related to Call to Action #38)
For some ways you can support this recommendation in your everyday life, , and for weekly updates, see

Last week,  I noted that a campaign was underway to include a clause on protecting Indigenous Rights in the Paris Climate Change Outcome Document.  It is very much in danger of not being included due to pressure from Norway, USA, Australia and some other European countries.

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
Together, faith-based groups, Indigenous Peoples, environment and climate justice organizations, as well as UNFCCC recognized constituencies and ad hoc working groups,  have been establishing a united front to move the critical issues of the #MakeItOperative campaign from the margins to the heart-centre of the Paris experience, and the Social Media world-view.
The effort to #MakeItOperative has been rebranded internationally as #Stand4Rights which better speaks to the purpose of the world acting together in unison for our common future for people and the planet.

Here is an article on Indigenous organizing at the COP21:     AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde was in Paris last week. Barb Wilson, chair of the United Church Committee on Indigenous Justice and Residential Schools, from Haida Gwaii, arrived in Paris this week to join another UCC delegate Mardi Tindal, while Christine Boyle returned home to Vancouver.

There is a Special Chiefs Assembly in Gatineau Dec.8-10, 2015 on the theme: Shaping our Future and Closing the Gap: Rights, Reconciliation, Relationships.  I understand that the Prime Minister is slated to speak to the gathering.

CBC temporarily closed comments on Indigenous stories, due to racist and hateful stereotypical comments. I, for one, am glad they took this step.
Listen to why they did this:

Why not talk to your MP about making this addition to the oath in the House of Commons.  When Northern Quebec James Bay Cree NDP MP Romeo Saganash took the oath to the Queen, he added a line of his own: “And I solemnly affirm, that in the carrying out of my duties, I shall honour and respect the treaties signed with indigenous peoples.”  So did 3 other NDP MPs.  Hopefully, this addition can be made to the oath that all MPs swear – it is far more than a ‘cute idea.’

Watch an evening dialogue with author Lee Maracle and Commissioner Marie Wilson, sponsored by Inspirit Foundation, who do great work on reconciliation, particularly with young adults. In this first two of public keynote events, Sept. 17, 2015, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Commissioner Marie Wilson and Indigenous elder and author Lee Maracle discuss the Commission’s recent findings and the prospect for reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people living in Canada.

Steven Kakfwi, President and CEO of “Canadians for a New Partnership” wrote, in part, to the 4700 people who have signed their Declaration:
Fifteen months ago, a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders came together at my invitation to follow up the path-breaking work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission with a series of practical actions that would help to create the basis for a new partnership. The Declaration states the principles guiding our work, and to date has been signed by over 4,700 Canadians from all walks of life. We have met with provincial leaders to discuss educational reforms that would improve outcomes for First Nations, Inuit and Métis students, and also educate Canadians about the history of our country and the roots of the disadvantage and exclusion faced by too many First Peoples. Please visit our website for a full report on the year’s activities.

Blessings of the season on you,

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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