LIRR Digest – March 17, 2016

Dear friends,

The Committee of Indigenous Justice and Residential Schools had a great meeting in Winnipeg March 11-13, including visits to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and the Canadian Museum of Human Rights where the Witness Blanket is also presently on display.  These are important places to learn about difficult aspects of this country’s history. We also enjoyed dinner and conversation with about 20 people from Winnipeg, Keewatin, and Assiniboine Presbyteries about ways they are responding to the TRC Calls to Action,  and working to reset the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.  It was exciting to hear of arts festivals, the Stella community ministry, the shift in worldview  that comes with watching APTN regularly, Blanket Exercises, creative funding initiatives, etc.   The people of Cross Lake were very much on our hearts and minds, and there are  ongoing discussions about a response that the United Church can offer.

It’s time to be thinking about summer programming for youth, and we have a webinar for you!
REGISTER NOW – WEBINAR “YOUTH SOWING SEEDS OF FRIENDSHIP” – APRIL 12, 7:30 PM EST
Are you an educator or youth leader wondering how to bring teenagers together from Indigenous communities and other young Canadians to build understanding and friendship?  Do you want to provide programming in your church where children learn about Aboriginal and residential school history, Indigenous cultures and spirituality?  Be inspired by hearing about a few successful programs carried out under United Church auspices.
Our presenters will be Leeann Shimoda, an elder with the WAMPUM program conducted at Five Oaks Centre for the last 3 years; and Rodney Smith-Merkley who has been involved in the Bay of Quinte living into right relations efforts through an “All My Relations” summer camp congregational program and a canoe-camp experience.
For more information and to register:  https://www.united-in-learning.com/index.php/webinars/80-youth-sowing-seeds-of-friendship

KAIROS ‘EDUCATION FOR RECONCILIATION” CAMPAIGN – Collecting petitions until Oct.15
You can continue to spreading those petitions far and wide, encouraging provincial and territorial governments to make curriculum mandatory from K-12 regarding residential schools, treaties, Aboriginal contribution past and present.  KAIROS has decided to extend the deadline to October 15 to allow some petitions to be presented in the spring and some in the fall.  However, whatever you can do now is very welcome.  Also if you haven’t filled in the online action to your MPP/MLA, we would encourage you to do so here http://www.kairoscanada.org/what-we-do/indigenous-rights/online-action today!

Winds of Change: Send an Electronic Letter to your MPP/MLA …
INDIGENOUS RIGHTS Winds of Change: Send an Electronic Letter to your MPP/MLA
Ellen Gabriel: This is what you need to be teaching your children, your grandchildren …

TEACHING FOR RECONCILIATION
In addition to the BC Teachers’ Federation’s new Project of Heart: Illuminating the Hidden History of Residential Schools in BC resource, the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) has released three excellent new grade 5, grade 10, and grade 11/12 residential school teaching resources.  These can be downloaded for free, and support teaching of the new curriculum. http://www.fnesc.ca/irsr/

BUILDING BRIDGES – PARTNERSHIP CIRCLES EVENT – Winnipeg,  March 18-19
Mennonite Church Canada invites everyone to join them for 1 or 2 days of conversation as guest teachers Stan McKay and Jennifer Preston share what the Declaration is and why it is “good news.”  The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has called all Canadian churches to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  But what does that mean? And how might it gift and challenge our relationships?
It’s free! For more information and to register: http://www.mennochurch.mb.ca/event/building-bridges-partnership-circles-event/

CANADIANS FOR A NEW PARTNERSHIP – Pledge your support
I have already pledged support for a new partnership between First Peoples and others in Canada by signing the CFNP Declaration – to be a part of feeding and growing the fire of reconciliation. You can too at www.cfnp.ca/declaration

SIX WAYS ALLIES STILL MARGINALIZE PEOPLE OF COLOR – AND WHAT TO DO INSTEAD
Educate yourself on these six marginalizing actions, and use them as starting points to help you become an even better ally.

  1. Failing to “see race”
  2. Erasing racial experience with other forms of oppression
  3. Prioritizing the white presence and voice in communities of color
  4. Appointing someone as the spokesperson for their entire race
  5. Discussing racial identity in binaries
  6. Using people of color as tokens

http://mashable.com/2016/02/27/people-of-color-marginalization/

WRONGS TO RIGHTS: HOW CHURCHES CAN ENGAGE THE UN DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
This study guide, edited by Steve Heinrichs, published by Mennonite Church Canada, is an extremely timely resource as the United Church and other churches prepare to issue our statement on March 31, 2016 as to how we plan to implement the UN Declaration.

Honouring the call of Indigenous peoples from around the world, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has specifically summoned, not only the State, but all churches to embrace the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. But what is the Declaration? And how might it gift and reorient Christian faith and practice?

In Wrongs to Rights, over 40 authors from diverse backgrounds – Indigenous and Settler, Christian and Traditional – wrestle with the meaning of the Declaration for the Church. With a firm hold on past and present colonialism, the authors tackle key questions that the Declaration and the TRC’s call to “adopt and comply” raises: What are its potential implications? How does it connect to Scripture? Can it facilitate genuine decolonization, or is “rights talk” another form of imperialism? And what about real life relationships? Can the Declaration be lived out – collectively and personally – on the ground?

Short articles combined with poetry and visual arts provide a rich, engaging and accessible resource for individual and group conversation in 164 pages. A study guide is included.

For more info and to order  your copy for $14, see:  http://www.commonword.ca/ResourceView/2/18343?allSubjects=1

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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