The last 7 days have seen some historic moments in the United Church as it pledged to implement more fully the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in its structures, policies, and living out equitable, and mutually respectful relationships. About 50 people, the core group being the Aboriginal Ministries Council and Circle, gathered at the Nottawassaga Inn (Alliston, ON) March 31-April 3 according to a process for a consultation approved by General Council Executive, November 2015.
This was to begin to develop recommendations regarding the role and relationships of the Aboriginal Ministries Council within the United Church of Canada into the future. Facilitators Bob Watts and Guy Freedman from First Peoples Group, and Kathi Camilleri conducting the “Village Exercise”, ably helped us to strengthen relationships, engage in dialogue, and write ‘new verses to old songs’. In closing storytelling and communion, ‘seeing and believing new life rising’ in the whole church was celebrated, singing “We Shall Go Out with Hope of Resurrection.”
UNITED CHURCH RESPONDS TO TRC CALL TO ACTION #48: “ADOPT AND COMPLY WITH UN DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES”
As the Aboriginal Ministries Consultation on the future of Indigenous ministries within the United Church began on March 31, Cree, Gitxan, French, and English speakers delivered a statement on how the United Church has adopted, and begun to comply with the UN Declaration as a framework for reconciliation. Following the Consultation, the UCC Task Group on Implementation of the UN Declaration which had prepared the statement, met April 4-5 face-to-face for the first time. Several people attended both gatherings.
You can read the full statement in English here:
It is also scheduled to be posted to our French website (http://egliseunie.ca/).
A video of the statement’s release by the Moderator and members of the Aboriginal Ministries Council is available here:
UNITED CHURCH PARTICIPATES IN ECUMENICAL STATEMENT on TRC CALL TO ACTION #48
The United Church of Canada was one of the ecumenical partners who issued a joint statement on seriously considering what it means for faith bodies, whether they had run residential schools or not, to adopt and comply with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It was received by Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner Marie Wilson.
Here is the video of the press conference: https://youtu.be/gnA6fh9shEM
OP ED – CHURCHES RESPOND TO CALL TO ACTION #48
Some faith bodies also worked together to prepare an op ed on the importance of complying with the UN Declaration as a framework for reconciliation. It was published in the Winnipeg Free Press.
REGISTER FOR WEBINAR APRIL 12 “YOUTH SOWING SEEDS OF FRIENDSHIP” – 7:30 pm EST
Are you an educator or youth leader wondering how to bring together teenagers 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 a 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 mobile 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
The webinar will be recorded and I will send out a link, so you can watch it whenever it is convenient and receive the list of resources cited in the program.
“IMAGINE A CANADA: CELEBRATING YOUTH – VISIONS FOR RECONCILIATION”
Let you heart be warmed by this compilation of art and stories from a competition launched by the National Centre of Truth and Reconciliation
VIEW THE DOCUMENTARY “THE PASS SYSTEM”
The Pass System, is showing on “Reel Insights” on Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) on April 13th. Director Alex Williams joins InFocus just ahead of the screening.
You can check out the viewing time on: http://aptn.ca/reelinsights/
Here is a synopsis: Canada’s hidden history of racial segregation is brought to light in the moving documentary, The Pass System. In the late 1800’s Prime Minister John A. MacDonald had plans to develop Canada’s west with profitable farming. As a way to separate European farmers and First Nations people, the pass system was created using permits which limited the time individuals could spend off reserve. The Pass System takes an in-depth look into the former Canadian policy and its effects on Aboriginal people.
CREATE YOUR OWN “BACK POCKET RECONCILIATION ACTION PLAN”
The Back Pocket Reconciliation Action Plan is part of Reconciliation Canada’s national engagement strategy to build a national narrative on reconciliation and catalyze action. They have initiatives planned across the country through 2016-2017, which are intended to engage individuals, groups and organizations in the reconciliation process. Your Back Pocket Reconciliation Action Plan will contribute to the national narrative on reconciliation by illustrating the ways that Canadians are taking action. By sharing your Back Pocket Reconciliation Action Plan, you are inspiring others to think about reconciliation and to create their own plan.
COURT RULING ON DESTRUCTION OF IAP (ADJUDICATED ABUSE CLAIM) DOCUMENTS
The heart-wrenching evidence of thousands of residential school survivors who sought compensation for sexual and other forms of abuse should be destroyed after 15 years, Ontario’s top court ruled Monday. In a split decision, the Court of Appeal found that the material is not a government record, and that it should be left up to the individual survivor on whether they wish to have their material archived or not. The case involved appeals and cross-appeals from many different institutions, including the federal government, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and dozens of religious entities that ran the schools, underscoring the complexity of the issue.
The material includes application forms, transcripts from private compensation hearings and adjudicator decisions from what is known as the Independent Assessment Process (IAP), that involved nearly 38,000 claimants who sought compensation for their treatment in the schools.
REGISTER NOW FOR: ENGAGE DIFFERENCE! DEEPENING UNDERSTANDING FOR INTERCULTURAL MINISTRY
The United Church offers bursary assistance up to $600 for people interested in attending.
5 Days focused on faith, heart, mind, and skills for the art of intercultural ministry
- May 9-13, 2016 Sandy Saulteaux Spiritual Centre, Beausejour, MB
Registration deadline, April 11, 2016
- June 6-10, 2016 Toronto School of Theology
Registration deadline May 8, 2016
- October 2016 Vancouver, BC
- January 2017 Saskatchewan
With Easter hope,
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)