LIRR Digest – May 11, 2016

Dear friends,

I think I finally have all my problems resolved regarding the update of my Outlook Contact system and its effects on my LIRR Contact list, which have created delays in sending the LIRR digest to you.  There is lots to catch up on! May the Breath of Pentecost Spirit carry us onward.

A beautiful prayer litany including the story of how the apology came to be, the apology and the 1988 response created by Rev. Susan Beaver; and a hymn written by Rev. Curtis Tufts, as well as a complete worship service with communion liturgy is now available as part of the worship resources to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1986 United Church Apology to First Nations People.  They are suggested for congregational use on June 5 or 12, or at Conference and Presbytery meetings. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the webpage for the pdfs. or

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples — first adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007 — recognizes Indigenous people’s basic human rights, as well as rights to self-determination, language, equality and land, among others.  When Canada finally adopted the Declaration in 2010, the government expressed hesitation about provisions addressing lands and resources, as well as an article calling on states to obtain prior, informed consent with Indigenous groups before enacting new laws.  Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett and Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould announced a shift in Canada’s position at the opening session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues today.

Minister Bennett’s announcement at the UN that Canada will adopt the UN Declaration “in accordance with the Canadian Constitution.”
Analysis on why not to be afraid of this and free, prior, and informed consent,  by Lorraine Land:

For those of you who don’t read the Globe and Mail, you may have missed a flurry of articles pointing out that the Roman Catholic entities had not raised $25 million as hoped, as part of their complex negotiated settlement as defendants under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, and had been released of their obligation.  This had implications for the financial obligations of the United Church under the Settlement Agreement (Schedule O-4). The article below captures some of the story, but was inaccurate in suggesting that the United Church had ‘escaped’ its obligations to fund healing services.  All money that the UC contributed under the Agreement was to offset abuse claim compensation, unlike the Roman Catholic entities.

See below for the United Church statement explaining how it has met its obligations to the Settlement Agreement and is going beyond, and continues to contribute to healing programs and services –  see the website, and the letter to the editor of the Globe and Mail.
Letter to the editor of Globe and Mail, April 30, 2016:

See below for some reactions from Roman Catholic personages:
Op ed by Michael Higgins, vice-president for Mission and Catholic Identity at Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, Conn., says the Catholic Church must find the money, ”re-prioritizing local diocesan interests to serve a national purpose, opting for the spiritual imperative over an undeserved legal boon and reprieve.”

Archbishop Gerrard Pettipas says the Catholic Entities have done what they can do, and are moving on from the legal process and fundraising campaign to focus on a permanent, dynamic process of reconciliation.

Scott Reid hopes the Catholic Church will do the right thing:  “accept responsibility for their misdeeds, to answer openly for their trespasses and, by offering recompense, become closer to that which is Godly.”

The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement is nearing its end after paying out billions in compensation.  Some Indigenous leaders say there are so many gaps that left so many people uncompensated for their suffering that the deal must be reviewed, then rewritten or replaced.   And others like Phil Fontaine suggest that no agreement is perfect, and that we should “try to fix those problems from within the existing framework, and it seems like we are making progress.”

The next campaign update is on Thurs. May 12, 1:00 to 2:00 pm EST.   Learn about curriculum change in Nunavut.   The speaker will be Ken Beardsall: Nunavusiutit Curriculum Coordinator at Government of Nunavut, Department of Education.   There is also an opportunity for participants to share what is happening across the country, including the planning of Mass Blanket Exercises in provincial and territorial capitals during the first week of June.  (e.g. Regina June 1, Edmonton June 2).

These campaign updates are open to all so please feel free to spread the word. To Connect: Use this link –

You can access videos of some of the previous campaign updates here:

I’ve heard reports of how participating in Blanket Exercises over the weekend at BC Native Ministries Council, and at a gathering with a feast in Orangeville, ON hosted by Dufferin County Cultural Resource Centre was once again an eye-opening and moving experience.  The latter gathering was assisted by the UC Justice and Reconciliation Fund.

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ordered the federal government to immediately enact a policy that would provide services to Aboriginal children to ensure their health and welfare doesn’t get caught up in red tape.  In its decision, the tribunal also called on the federal Department of Indigenous Affairs to report back within two weeks to confirm the policy — based on an established doctrine known as Jordan’s Principle — has been implemented.


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)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s