LIRR Digest – January 12, 2016

Happy New Year!

I feel like we are riding a wave of hope and fresh energy into 2016,  what with the Prime Minister’s repeated commitments during December to renewing the relationship with
Indigenous peoples as heard at the Assembly of First Nations, at the release of the complete Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, at climate change talks, and in establishing the public inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. There is much light on the path, to be grateful for in this Season of Epiphany!
There is much to do, and I pray for continued strength and courage.

Alternative media source rabble has joined 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. During the week of Dec.7, the focus was on Call to Action #59:

We call upon church parties to the Settlement Agreement to develop ongoing education strategies to ensure that their respective congregations learn about their church’s role in colonization, the history and legacy of residential schools, and why apologies to former residential school students, their families, and communities were necessary.
There are good suggestions for how you can make this recommendation a reality.

Why not order the book “Sorry: Why Our Church Apologized” from UCRDStore.   See the pictures and read the histories of United Church operated schools at
We will be marking the 30th anniversary of the UCC 1986 Apology to First Nations Peoples in June 2016, so think ahead!

You can buy the full Final TRC report from McGill-Queen’s University Press  – order here:

You can buy the TRC Executive Summary with the 94 Calls to Action from Chapters.
You can also download everything from the TRC website and print it off yourself.

As you know, KAIROS launched the Winds of Change campaign to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.  The focus this year is on Call to Action # 62(i) – mandatory curriculum in every province and territory on the residential school legacy, treaties and historic and contemporary contributions of Indigenous peoples to Canada.
KAIROS is circulating petitions, organizing meetings with provincial representatives and holding mass Blanket Exercises across the country.  For more info:

You are invited to play an active role in increasing the reach of this campaign.  Your input and expertise is invaluable and KAIROS would like the opportunity to connect online once a month to provide updates, exchange ideas and strategize together about next steps. These check-ins are open to all.
They will be on the second Thursday of each month, 1 – 2:30 pm EST.  Mark the dates: January 14, February 11, March 10, April 14, May 12, June 16.

KAIROS is honoured ‎to have Stephen Kakfwi as its guest speaker for the online ‎campaign update on Thursday, January 14, 1:00-2:30pm Eastern Time.   Mr. Kakfwi is President and CEO of Canadians for a New Partnership ( The ninth Premier of the Northwest Territories and former President of the Dene Nation, Mr. Kakfwi is a residential school survivor and a long-time advocate for reconciliation through education.  Pamela Thomson from Redeemer Anglican Church in Toronto will bring our Network Update. If you want to connect to this webinar, please reply to Katy Quinn at  Only those who reply will receive the link and phone number to connect, as well as the next invitation.

Journalist Chelsea Vowel asks “What are Canadians actually learning about indigenous peoples? Is it enough? Are the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s educational calls to action unnecessary?”  She refers to the KAIROS report cards by province and territory.

The Aboriginal Ministries Circle of the United Church has two job openings: Healing programs coordinator (deadline Jan 11) and Community Capacity Development Coordinator (deadline Jan 18).  We’d appreciate your helping spread the word about these opportunities.  More info here:

Listen to TRC Commissioner Marie Wilson and Hayden King, director of the Centre of Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University, on CBC’s The Current Jan. 4,  discussing how all Canadians need to take up the TRC’s Calls to Action.
Carolyn Bennett, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister, can also be heard on The Current Dec.29, pledging better education and water safety for First Nations. Every single Canadian needs to see an approach to reconciliation as part of being a citizen.

On December 24, Moderator Jordan Cantwell wrote to the Prime Minister to thank his government for initiating an inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls, and to assure him of our willingness to work together to make this a meaningful moment of transformation in the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.

CALL TO ACTION! Consultation on the design of the inquiry is now underway, and all Canadian are being asked to contribute via an online survey at
We invite you to participate in the survey and include in your response these points raised by the Moderator: that the inquiry continue to pay special attention to the voices of the families of the murdered and missing; that Indigenous worldviews and cultural understandings be foundational to the inquiry; and that it be rooted in respect for the spiritual care of those involved, from the victims to those who seek justice on their behalf. We ask that it seek to name the historical and contemporary structures that created and perpetuate this cycle of violence, and commit to addressing the root causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls.
As of January 4, 2016, here is a list of upcoming inquiry design meetings:
More meeting locations and dates will be added to this list as they are confirmed. The site invites people to contact the department if you know someone who would like to participate.

A good article on terminology, prompted by the change of name of the federal government department from “Aboriginal Affairs” to “Indigenous Affairs”.

In peace,
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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