Canada 150, through the Lens of Reconciliation | The United Church of Canada

Canada 150, through the Lens of Reconciliation | The United Church of Canada

Thoughts, feelings, and prayers from Indigenous leaders as Canada Day approaches.

Canada Day is coming. Canada 150 celebrations are intensifying. I wonder how Indigenous people are feeling about it all. I asked a few Indigenous friends and leaders in our church: “If someone from one of our non-Indigenous communities of faith asked you about the 150th year of Confederation, what would say? What thoughts or feelings or prayers would you want to share with us?” Here are their responses…

 

Ray Jones

Credit: The United Church of Canada

“One of our Gitxsan metaphors on life is ‘Dim amma gaadinqu mel.’ When your canoe runs aground or flips over, you have to right your canoe and continue the journey. The Canadian society has to right its societal canoe as a big step in reconciliation! Canada 150 is a good place to begin the journey together with us, the Aboriginals. Our churches have to blow the horn on reconciliation, just like Gabriel. This will go a long way in bringing down the walls of racism.”

—Ray Jones,

Hereditary Chief Niis Noolth of the Fireweed/Grouse clan in Gitsegukla, BC

 

Pastor Lawrence V. Sankey

Credit: Kelly Buehler

“Heavenly Father, I thank you for the 150 years you have given Canada… I pray that you continue to watch over and protect our land and to continue to unite the people of the lands so that they can flourish and grow as one nation in body and spirit throughout the land…”

—Pastor Lawrence V. Sankey

Co-chair, Aboriginal Ministries Council, The United Church of Canada

 

Martha Pedoniquotte

Credit: The United Church of Canada

“I would just like to include the words of the Ontario Regional Chief. It is a true sentiment of how I feel as a First Nations person on Canada’s 150 celebration:

AFN Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day, chair of the national Chiefs Committee on Health, stated: ‘Canada is celebrating the 150th year of Confederation but far too many of our children and youth cannot even celebrate their own lives. This National Circle of Ceremony and Healing for Our Spirits [held on March 17, 2017] is a reminder that much work needs to be done to end poverty and despair. When our youth are able to see hope for the future then all Canadians will be able to celebrate. This will be true reconciliation.’”

—Martha Pedoniquotte,

Chippewas of Nawash Band Councillor; member of United Church Committee on Indigenous Justice and Residential Schools

 

Maggie McLeod, Executive Minister, Aboriginal Ministries and Indigenous Justice, The United Church of Canada, offers some suggestions to the church:

Maggie McLeod

Credit: Richard C. Choe

“Reconciliation begins with recognizing the need to act in new and life-giving ways. Here are three ways in which your community of faith can recognize Canada’s 150th anniversary with the lens of reconciliation:

  • Recognize and give thanks for the abundance that come from this land and all of its peoples.

  • Recognize that Indigenous Peoples are the original peoples, and were the founding peoples of Canada; and that many cultures make up the fabric of the Canadian identity.

  • Recognize the need to reflect and make plans for how we will, over the course of the next 150 years, act to make this country a place of that honours the dignity and well-being of all.”

 

Finally, Adrian Jacobs, Ganosono, Turtle Clan, Cayuga Nation, Six Nations Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Keeper of the Circle, Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre, offers the following Twitter feed:

 

These are some thoughts, feelings, and prayers Indigenous friends and relations want our whole church to hear. As we mark Canada 150, we need to contemplate them, share them in our networks, and lift them up in worship on July 2, the Sunday closest to Canada Day. As Henry David Thoreau wrote, “It takes two to speak the truth—one to speak and another to hear.”

—David Giuliano, Community Capacity Development Coordinator, Aboriginal Ministries, The United Church of Canada

 

The views contained within these blogs are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of The United Church of Canada.

Source: Canada 150, through the Lens of Reconciliation | The United Church of Canada

The United Church, Interfaith Relations, and Islamophobia – March 19 Global Gossip

The United Church, Interfaith Relations, and Islamophobia – March 19 Global Gossip

 

Gail Allan gave a presentation in her role as the Coordinator, Ecumenical, Interchurch, and Interfaith Relations for the United Church.

 

She made the following points:

  • there is a movement of inter-faith work that endeavours to present alternative visions which are vital to actively resisting current thinking
  • local interfaith relations are key
  • there are several documents that guide U.C in dialogue
  • g. Mending The World, which commits U.C to do all its work through a multi-faith lens, Bearing Faithful Witness (Christian/Jewish relations), That We May Know Each Other (Christian/Muslim relations), Honouring the Divine in Each Other (Christian/Hindu relations)
  • Several organizations were mentioned as points of connection, dialogue, and inter-faith justice work
  • Gail drew our attention to specific organizations that we might want to keep in touch with who hold events and that would be informative and a way of making contact with inter-faith groups, e.g. National Council of Canadian Muslims, the Noor Centre, Intercultural Dialogue Institute (IDI), Multi-faith Centre at U of T.
  • Inter-faith work can be seen as concentric circles: local – national – global

 

What Can We Do

During our discussion some of the following ideas were suggested:

  • keep aware of the U.C website “Take Action” section which guides members in contacting politicians regarding issues such as increasing refugee sponsorships and ending the safe third country agreement.
  • Participating in webinars such as the one recently held on Welcoming Refugees and Challenging Islamophobia
  • Be aware of the proposed inter-faith centre in the Honest Ed’s development.
  • Inviting a Muslim speaker from the National Council of Canadian Muslims to give us a kind of Islam 101
  • Importance of informing ourselves through interpersonal dialogue
  • Week by week small actions that we can ask members to do; a kind of weekly mission that we are sent off with at the conclusion of our services e.g. make a phone call, sign petition
  • Start our actions with an exploration of the document That We May Know Each Other
  • Draft letter regarding suspension of safe third country agreement motion modeling letters from other conferences
  • Advertising events we become aware of on our listserve, inviting others to join
  • Introducing ourselves to our Muslim neighbours, e.g the Ismaili worship group in our neighbourhood.

 

Jared agreed to help co-ordinate events and make sure communications were facilitated for TSP.  It was also noted that we should make an effort to reach those who are not on the list serve.

It was also noted that we need to keep the Board of TSP aware of any actions that are undertaken so they can address any concerns that arise.

 

Please note that this a summary of the discussion and apologies in advance for anything missed or mis-stated,

Betty Stone