LIRR Digest – March 7, 2016

To ministers of reconciliation,

The lectionary scriptures for yesterday included the parable of the prodigal son and 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, a text referring to reconciliation that has been foundational to living into right relations.   I was reminded again that is only through God’s transforming love-power as we have known it through Jesus the Christ and acting in us that a ‘new creation’ and a new relationship  between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples can happen.  We join in the recognition of our Prime Minister being honored with a headdress and the name “The One Who Keeps Trying” by the Tsuut’ina people, a southern Alberta First Nation.  May we all be ones who keep trying.  Let’s make that extra push to obtain names by March 15 on the petition to make curriculum mandatory in schools K-12 regarding residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada. Download the petition from KAIROS here:

I invite you to think about what you can do to mark March 21: the International Day to Eliminate Racism – there is a great need to do more education about racism and ‘white privilege’ as I think most of us have heard and seen more overt  racism raising its many ugly heads in these past months.  You might look for an organization to partner with near you like Edmonton’s Centre for Race and Culture which has been hosting a 2016 Winter Series:

  • Day 1 Feb 12: Roots of racism and how racism affects our personal lives
  • Day 2 Feb 26: Breaking down racism at the systemic level
  • Day 3 Mar 11: Anti-Racism practice and moving toward an inclusive society

My colleague Sara Stratton has been working with the UCC Task Group on the Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples to develop a statement as to how the church will implement the Declaration as a framework for reconciliation.  This is in response to the TRC Call to Action #48.  The statement will be issued on March 31, at the beginning of the UCC Aboriginal Ministries Comprehensive Renewal Consultation at the Nottawasaga Inn in Alliston, ON.   On March 30, an ecumenical statement will be released in Ottawa, with Moderator Jordan Cantwell as a member of a press conference panel.

Webinar Update: March 10 from 1:00 to 2:30 pm EST.   Winds of Change continues to build momentum and there are some exciting updates to share!
The speaker will be Gabrielle Fayant who was instrumental in conceptualizing and leading the Mass Blanket Exercise on Parliament Hill in June 2015.
She and her team at Assembly of Seven Generations are helping us to spread Mass Blanket Exercises across the country this spring as a high point of the campaign in June.  This is chance to hear from her about what it is like to plan and experience a Mass Blanket Exercise.
To Connect: Use this link –

The audience was large and responded with much gratitude for this series.
You can listen to the recordings for Session 1 “Something Went Wrong” (speaking truth will set you free)
and Session 2 “Restoring Spiritual Balance” (reinterpreting ‘sin’ and ‘repentance’)
Regretfully, we had to cancel the third session.  We hope to engage with these thoughtful and gracious presenters Dr. Patricia Vickers and Rev. Ray Aldred again in the months to come.

Mark April 12 – 7:30-9:00 EST for a webinar “Youth Sowing Seeds of Friendship” – talking with people involved in programming for children and youth to build right relations.

See the Returning to Spirit Winter 2016 newsletter and read inspiring stories of transformation from participants in recent Aboriginal workshops in BC.
Upcoming workshops will be held in the following locations.  For more information, contact persons are indicated. See the website for application/registration forms.

Mar 09, 2016 Mar 12, 2016 Aboriginal Winnipeg MB Kateri Parish Hall, 548 Home Street Dennis Chartrand 204-889-4579, ext 109
Mar 11, 2016 Mar 14, 2016 Non-Aboriginal Winnipeg MB Kateri Hall, St. Boniface Pastoral Center Francois Paradis 204-889-4579, ext. 102
Apr 02, 2016 Apr 04, 2016 Non-Aboriginal Prince George BC Domano Renewal Centre Dianne Little 204-889-4579, ext. 103
May 27, 2016 May 30, 2016 Non-Aboriginal Winnipeg MB St. Boniface Pastoral Centre Olive Halpin 204-594-6380

There is funding to cover the registration fee, accommodation and meals in 2016 for up to 4 more Aboriginal participants, and up to 6 more non-Aboriginal participants.  Just send a copy of your application to me for processing at least 3 weeks before the workshop.

Thanks to Rev. James Ravenscroft and Dr. Maggie Hodgson for helping this healing garden get to this concept stage.

 BOOK LAUNCH “In This Together: Fifteen Stories of Truth and Reconciliation”
An anthology of essays by Indigenous and non-Indigenous contributors from across Canada, edited by Edmonton’s Historian Laureate, Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail.
Wednesday, March 30, 2016, 6:00-9:00 PM  Edmonton Public Library Stanley A. Milner Library Theatre
This event is free, thanks to the support from the Edmonton Public Library, City of Edmonton’s Aboriginal Relations Office, and the Edmonton Heritage Council.   Please RSVP on Facebook or on the EPL website
For more information on “In This Together: Fifteen Stories of Truth and Reconciliation”, visit the publisher’s website:

If these exhibits or events have not been to your community yet, consider inviting them, and/or support the efforts to bring them:
Walking with Our Sisters – just closed at Brandon University and is heading to the United States for the summer, and will return to Toronto in September;  honoring missing and murdered indigenous women and girls;
Witness Blanket – at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg until June, and headed to Peace River museum, AB for the summer a cedar art installation of artifacts from most residential schools in Canada
Opening the Doors to Dialogue – April 2-3,9-10, and 16-17 at Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre; a forum for dialogue while holding beading sessions to bead 7 doors from Indian residential schools
Ballet “Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation”– March 21 in Brandon; March 22 in Regina; March 23-Saskatoon; March 26 – Banff; March 29-20 Kelowna by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (story by Joseph Boyden)

In peace,
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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