By Cecile Fausak
Now is the time for congregations to make a special effort to live out apologies to Indigenous Peoples, to celebrate their culture and contributions, to respond to the 94 Calls to Action issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and to be good relatives and walk in the Spirit of Christ together. It is the time to reflect on what it means to be marking Canada’s 150 years since Confederation.
The ANW Conference Living into Right Relations Standing Committee calls your attention to resources available for worship, education, and advocacy for June’s Aboriginal History Month. The ‘congregational witnesses for reconciliation’ who gathered at Camp Kasota East May 5-7, 2017 were introduced to many of these ideas.
The May 2017 issue of Mandate magazine on the theme of “Reconciliation” is filled with articles, workshop guides, Bible study, tips on what’s worked, book reviews, and worship resources to enrich your journey. If you don’t have a copy of May’s Mandate, you can purchase online HERE
The release of the TRC Calls to Action in 2015
- For Solidarity and Worship resources “We are a Covenant People: We Are a Treaty People,” see https://www.kairoscanada.org/product/covenant-people-treaty-people-worship-resource
- You can draw attention to the struggle to retain Indigenous languages in Canada. Do you know how to say ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ in Cree, Dene, Nakota, Blackfoot?
- If you belong to a knitting or crocheting group, think about making a ‘blanket’ for use locally in hosting a KAIROS Blanket Exercise revealing our shared history which most of us never learned in school.
- If you haven’t already read the TRC Calls to Action, gather a group to read them responsively. Some are addressed to churches specifically. See the United Church’s response to them here: http://www.united-church.ca/sites/default/files/ucc-response-trc-calls.pdf
- Implementing The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation
- Federally – Take part in the KAIROS campaign “Let Justice Roll” by https://www.kairoscanada.org/what-we-do/indigenous-rights/undrip-campaign
- In church – for a video “Haven’t we done that?” and workshop guide http://www.united-church.ca/social-action/justice-initiatives/un-declaration-rights-indigenous-peoples
- Repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery
- See backgrounder and worship resources “Living on the Path of Respect” http://www.united-church.ca/social-action/justice-initiatives/doctrine-discovery
- If you haven’t done so already, develop and use an Acknowledgement of Traditional Territory to open worship. See p.49 Mandate May 2017 and http://www.united-church.ca/sites/default/files/acknowledging-the-territory.pdf
- Join the campaign to recognize Indigenous Peoples as founding peoples of Canada, and the right to their languages http://www.recognition2action.ca/
- Learn about the 10,000 or more years of Indigenous history of Turtle Island, and proclaim Canada 150 Plus.
The creation of the United Church of Canada in 1925
- Learn why and how the crest was changed to acknowledge Aboriginal ministries at the time of union and now. http://www.united-church.ca/community-faith/welcome-united-church-canada/united-church-crest
- Find out something about the United Church Aboriginal ministry closest to you, and include them in your prayers.
The federal government apology to residential school students, their families, and communities in 2008
- You may choose to make reference to apologies in prayers of confession
- See worship resources http://www.united-church.ca/social-action/justice-initiatives/apologies
- Consider taking up a special offering to support the Healing Fund, a Gift of Vision related to Aboriginal Ministries or Reconciliation, or the Alvin Dixon Memorial Education Bursary Fund.
June 18 – Aboriginal Sunday closest to
June 21 – National Aboriginal Day
- For worship resources http://www.united-church.ca/sites/default/files/aboriginal-sunday-celebration-thanksgiving.pdf
June 24 – Sunday before Canada Day
- A service of lament and celebration marking 150 years since the Confederation of Canada excerpted from Gathering Lent-Easter 2017 http://www.united-church.ca/worship-special-days/canada-day