UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples-and the churches

At the recent All My Relations Gathering hosted by SK Conference, 30 adults and children gathered in Lumsden/ Treaty Four to share stories and further our understanding of good relations between First Peoples and settlers/ newcomers.  It was a rich gathering that stood on a foundation of relationships and trust over thirteen years in the making.

Harry Lafond, Executive  Director of the Office of the Treaty Commissioner, reflected on the urgent need for “wahkohtowin”, a Cree concept that can be understood as “becoming relatives”.  This is the spirit with which Indigenous nations signed the treaties that make all of us Treaty People.  He urged us to look carefully at the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and to take seriously the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, which urge churches to see the UN Declaration as a path towards true reconciliation.

Our United Church Moderator reflected on the Declaration this fall, saying, “You may be asking why the church has placed such a priority on this document.  You may be wondering what it has to do with you.  You may question how a document developed at the United Nations can do anything to improve relations among the peoples of Canada.

The answer to all these questions is that the UN Declaration offers us a new way of understanding how we are in relationship with each other.  Not a relationship of domination, but a relationship of mutuality, equity, and respect.  And we must all, as individuals, as a church, and as a nation, do our part to build that new relationship.”

If your church wants to learn more about this covenant that was over twenty years in the writing, please get in touch with the All My Relations Network through Julie Graham, Education and Mission Coordinator.

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