Living Into Right Relations – October 25, 2016

U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
In response to Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action 48, the United Church continues its work to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation.  Moderator Jordan Cantwell has issued a letter to the church encouraging us to advocate for a key principle of the Declaration, Free Prior and Informed Consent, in the assessment of major resource projects.

The Moderator also references Bill C-262, a private member’s bill to make Canadian law consistent with the Declaration. The Bill is expected to come for second reading in May 2017, and we anticipate joining an ecumenical campaign in January that will support the principles of the bill.

Our ecumenical partner KAIROS has just released a new briefing paper on the Declaration, consent, resource extraction projects, and what seems to be an impasse in the Canadian government’s approach to rebuilding the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. Visit the KAIROS website to download Prime Minister Facing Moment of Truth on Indigenous Rights.

Reconciling Baseball: Challenging Racial Stereotypes in Sport
As the American League Championship Series got underway, The United Church of Canada and the United Church of Christ offered a reflection on mascots, racial stereotyping, and reconciliation. Reconciliation and Indigenous Justice Animator Sara Stratton gave an interview with CTV News Channel highlighting why this is an important justice issue for people of faith.

Now that Cleveland has advanced to the World Series, it an even more important time to raise our voices about this issue.  As part of your practice of reconciliation, join in the #NotMyMascot social media campaign and let others know the use of Indigenous mascot names is unacceptable!

“What We Want from You Is Action…”
Ecumenical friends from across Canada and the United States, including members of the Living Into Right Relations Network and the Indigenous church, met in Saskatoon October 14-16 for a challenging and invigorating weekend of discussion and strategizing on how the TRC calls the churches to action. For those of you who weren’t able to here, Tommy Airey of Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries offers this reflective summary.

Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls
While the National Inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls has begun its work, there are still many questions about the direction it will be taking.  One huge question mark is whether (and how) it will deal with police attitudes and conduct. Moderator Jordan Cantwell has issued a statement supporting the work of the Inquiry and reminding the Inquiry of the need to listen to the wishes of the families, who have clearly cited to need for the Inquiry to address policing. For more information on the Inquiry and how you can engage with it, please check out our Justice for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls page and the KAIROS MMIWG Info-Hub.

30th Anniversary of the Apology to First Nations Peoples
On August 20, 200 people from across Canada met in Sudbury to mark the 30th anniversary of the United Church’s Apology to First Nations Peoples. Reconciliation and Indigenous Justice Animator Cecile Fausak has written a blog about the day, and we’ve posted a collection of pictures on our Facebook page. You don’t have to be a member of Facebook or the page to see the pictures – but why not join us there anyway?

Mandate: Stories of Apology and Reconciliation
Keep an eye out for the November 2016 issue of Mandate, which features an interview on the history and future of the Apology. Alberta Billy (who asked the church for the Apology), the Very Rev. Bob Smith (who delivered it), Right Relations activist Pam Hart and Aboriginal Ministries Co-Chair Lawrence Sankey join Sara Stratton in conversation. A video of the full interview will also be posted to the United Church’s YouTube channel in early November. Other items of note in this issue include stories about the “Paddle for Peace” action in British Columbia, Kamloops United Church’s reconciliation work, our “From Apology Towards Reconciliation” litany, and a film study process for The Revenant.

Book Review: Children of the Broken Treaty
Elizabeth Frazer from Manitou Conference has written a brief review of Charlie Angus’ Children of the Broken Treaty, which she describes as “a trip through the history of broken promises between Canadian settler governments and the James Bay Mushkegowuk Cree First Nations.” The book is readily available at Canadian bookstores and online retailers. Why not gather a group to read it and engage in some of the tough questions it raises?

News from the Network  
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission said to us that “Canadians must do more than just talk about reconciliation; we must learn how to practise reconciliation in our everyday lives—within ourselves and our families, and in our communities, governments, places of worship, schools, and workplaces.”  We hear lots of stories from across the country about how that is being done, most recently on murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. Trinity United Church (Charlottetown) and its CGIT group recently participated in a walk to raise awareness of the issue, and Cape Croker United Church in Neyaashiinigimiing was among many to host a vigil on October 4.  Be sure to share your news with us so that we can share with the rest of our Right Relations community.

Gifts with Vision
As we approach Christmas, remember that you can contribute to reconciliation by purchasing gifts from the Mission and Service Fund. These include contributions to Indigenous youth leadership,  providing copies of Jason Eaglespeaker’s graphic novel UNeducation to teachers and students eager to learn more about residential schools, supporting women’s programming at the Blue Sky Community Healing Centre in Thunder Bay,  or providing warm winter gear for the youth of  Little Red River Cree Nation in Alberta.

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