United and Anglican Churches Respond to Senator Beyak
Canadian Senator Lynn Beyak recently commented on the “good intentions” behind residential schools. The United Church of Canada, which operated residential schools on behalf of the Government of Canada, has responded with an open letter from Moderator Jordan Cantwell. The Moderator states that over the past 30 years, as the church has striven to make real its apologies to Indigenous peoples, “we have learned that ‘good intentions’ are never enough, and that to offer such words in explanation is damaging and hurtful.”
The Anglican Church of Canada has also issued a powerful response in which its leadership notes that “there was nothing good” in the residential schools system and pledges its ongoing support to the work of reconciliation. Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, appeared on CBC’s Power and Politics to address the issue.
Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls – Inquiry Update
While the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls expects to begin hearings in May, serious questions are being raised about its access to relevant data. And in his March 20 assessment of the government’s progress on the TRC Calls to Action, Senator Murray Sinclair urged the Inquiry to get moving, saying that “You’re not going to lack for people to talk to, but you have to be willing to get started.”
Meanwhile, the Inquiry has issued an update on participation. It is now accepting applications for standing from individuals and organizations whose interest is directly or substantially affected by or essential to fulfilling the Inquiry’s mandate. The criteria and application process are detailed here.
Please note that family members and survivors (witnesses) do not have to apply for standing in order to be present before the inquiry. Neither do they have to use this process to apply for funding. Funding for witness participation will be a separate process. Stay up to date by visiting the Inquiry’s website or signing up for email updates. The Inquiry has also posted an FAQ answering many common questions.
Indigenous Justice and Climate Change
Indigenous justice issues such as self-determination in development projects and combating global climate change are both huge priorities of the United Church. Beaver Lake First Nation in the Athabasca region show how they come together. The community has just finished its first solar installation, and has prepared this short video.
Webinar: Residential Schools, Reconciliation, and Youth
Eric Hamlyn, Youth & Young Adult Ministry Facilitator for Vancouver Burrard and Vancouver South Presbyteries (BC Conference) has facilitated a United for Learning webinar on introducing youth to residential schools and reconciliation. It’s available to view here and is recommended for engaged or interested in youth ministry.
Rendez-vous 2017 is a United Church of Canada national gathering for youth, young adults, and their leaders. It takes place this August 16-19 at Concordia University in Montreal and offers some great workshops and experiential outings on reconciliation, white privilege, and other Indigenous justice issues. Please encourage Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth in your circles to participate!
Indigenous Justice Jobs at KAIROS
Our ecumenical partner KAIROS is hiring four positions in Indigenous Justice: two halftime one-year contracts as KAIROS Blanket Exercise (KBE) promotions associate (Ottawa and Toronto); one permanent full-time KBE Regional Coordinator (Toronto) and one permanent full-time Indigenous Rights program coordinator (Ottawa or Toronto). Deadline: March 31. For more information, visit the KAIROS website.
So Long, Cecile!
Longtime readers of this newsletter and participants in the Living Into Right Relations Network will be sorry to hear that Reconciliation and Indigenous Justice Animator Cecile Fausak is retiring at the beginning of May. For more than 10 years, Cecile has worked to nurture this network and to help the church live out both its pastoral and justice-oriented commitment to reconciliation and right relationship. The Committee on Indigenous Justice and Residential Schools (CIJRS), current and former General Council Office staff, ecumenical friends, and members of the network recently gathered to say thanks and “baa maa pii” (“see you later” in Ojibwe) to Cecile. We know we’ll be seeing her around as the work of reconciliation continues!
[Photo: Colleagues and the CIJRS say “baa maa pii” to Cecile. 1st row, L-R: Nichole Vonk, Ray Jones, Sara Stratton, Maggie McLeod, Cecile Fausak, Norma General-Lickers, Laverne Jacobs. 2nd row, L-R: Martha Pedoniquotte, Kii’iljuus (Barbara Wilson), William Snow, Jamie Scott.]