The Truth and Reconciliation Commission came about as part of the settlement agreement between the Government of Canada, the Anglican, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and United Churches, the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Organizations, and residential school students.
There is an acknowledgement of the injustices and harms experienced by Aboriginal people in these church run schools, and there is a need for healing. The TRC is holding public Hearings across Canada so the participating churches and all Canadians can meet and hear the stories of residential school survivors. We all need healing and, through truth telling and deep listening, we pray that reconciliation may be possible. ~ Marion Best
Read Rev. Kathy Hogman’s post on the BC Conference’s website for a brief overview of Canada’s relationships with First Nations people, the establishment and impact of residential schools, and the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Information about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Residential Schools
The Fallen Feather: Indian Industrial Residential Schools Canadian Confederation – the website connected to the film with the same title that was produced in 2007 by Randy Bezeau and Jannica Hoskins ~ This film analyzes the reasons for the creation of Indian Residential Schools in Canada using historic documents, survivors’ testimonies, and community leaders’ assessments.
A group from Trinity United in Vernon attended the Truth And Reconciliation Commission Hearings in Kamloops on May 29, 2013. Shirley Grabinsky has eloquently described what she saw and heard during the proceedings in her post. Rev. Jeff Seaton’s sermon draws on what he witnessed at the Hearings and reflects on how the scripture readings speak to both the history and purpose of residential schools and the work of reconciliation.
The article, “Canadian government withheld food from hungry aboriginal kids in 1940s nutritional experiment, researcher finds” by Bob Weber in The Globe and Mail describes the research of Ian Mosby, whose research focusses on the history of food in Canada. It describes experiments conducted by Canadian bureaucrats in both First Nation communities and residential schools.
“Administering Colonial Science”, an article in Canada’s History describes the impact of the release of Ian Mosby’s research.
The United Church’s response to the news coverage of Ian Mosby’s research indicates that it has submitted its archival records relating to these experiments to the TRC.
In the article, “Wake Up To the Aboriginal Comeback”, published in The Globe and Mail on August 9th, John Ralston Saul describes how new relationships must form among First Nations and others as aboriginal peoples continue to become stronger culturally, politically, and economically.
CBC News reports that the TRC will finally have access to relevant documents in Canada’s archives. This was as a result of a court ruling in January, 2013 after the TRC took the Canadian government to court in order to obtain documents.
In this fifteen-minute news report, CBC News reporter Duncan McCue takes viewers behind the scenes of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s National Event in Vancouver held October 18th-21st, 2013. He includes interviews and scenes from the hearings and other events.
Information about the United Church of Canada’s History with Residential Schools and its Reconciliation Work
Notes from the presentation made to the 2012 Fall Presbytery meeting of Kamloops-Okanagan Presbytery by Marion Best, Former Moderator United Church of Canada 1994-1997
United Church of Canada’s website pages concerning aboriginal peoples and developing right relationships with them
United Church of Canada’s website pages about Indian Residential Schools
The United Church of Canada’s two apologies to First Nations Peoples: “The first, in 1986, addresses issues related to the church’s role in imposing European culture on First Nations’ peoples. The second apology, from 1998, addresses the legacy of Indian Residential Schools more specifically.” ~ from the United Church of Canada website
The Children Remembered: Residential School Archives Project – This website on the history of the United Church’s Indian Residential Schools was initiated by the United Church’s Steering Committee on Residential Schools, comprised of survivors from different residential schools across Canada and of United Church leaders and staff.
The Healing Fund was originally established by General Council in 1994 as a five-year fund-raising and educational campaign (1995-1999) to address the impacts of residential schools on Aboriginal people. It now continues as one facet of the United Church’s ongoing reconciliation work with Aboriginal people.
As the Truth and Reconciliation Commission holds its closing event and releases its Final Report and recommendations, United Church congregations are encouraged to reflect, pray, and worship on the journey of reconciliation on four Sundays, May 31 to June 21 (National Aboriginal Day). Resources are available on the United Church website.
Information about the Anglican Church of Canada’s History with Residential Schools and its Reconciliation Work
The Anglican Church of Canada has webpages on its site devoted to Truth and Reconciliation. It includes history, video clips about why truth and reconciliation is important, the Anglican Church’s apology, and links to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s work.
Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, marks the 20th anniversary of Archbishop Michael Peers’ apology to the survivors of residential schools with this statement.
“Anglicans prepare for TRC closing ceremonies” ~ an article written by Matt Gardner and posted to the Anglican Church of Canada website on March 11, 2015
An invitation from the Primate and National Indigenous Anglican Bishop to be intentional with prayer and renewal of commitment to healing and reconciliation from the Closing Ceremonies of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on May 31, 2015 to the National Aboriginal Day of Prayer on June 21, 2015.
On March 19, 2016, Archbishop Fred Hiltz spoke on behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada in responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #48. The statement can be read here.
Information from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
In July, 2013, Bishop Greg of the BC Synod sent a letter to congregations and Rostered ministers in the BC Synod encouraging participation in the Walk for Reconciliation on September 22nd.
On May 20, 2015, National Bishop Susan C. Johnson wrote a pastoral letter to the church inviting it “into prayer for the closing events of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and for renewal in our commitments to healing and reconciliation.”
Dr. Marie Wilson, one of the three commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, addressed the 15th National Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada on July 10, 2015 in Edmonton. Information about her presentation and a link to it will be found on the ELCIC website.
In March 2016, the National Church Council of ELCIC adopted the ELCIC Statement on Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It can be read here.
From United Church of Canada’s Moderator Gary Paterson’s blog
June 17, 2015 ~ United for Reconciliation
May 15, 2015 ~ Continuing the Journey of Reconciliation
April 29, 2013 ~ Conversations in Bella Coola
May 1, 2013 ~ Honouring Nuxalk Resilient Survivors of Residential Schools
June 7, 2013 ~ M’Chigeeng – “Church of the Immaculate Conception in M’Chigeeng (pronounced shih-geeng) . . . is stunning! It’s a fusion of Christian and Indigenous spirituality that through architecture, art, colour, ritual, vestments, sculpture, and carving, honours both and thus enriches both.”
June 25, 2013 ~ The Descent of the Spirit
September 27, 2013 ~ TRC Vancouver: Hearing the Stories
October 2, 2013 ~ TRC Vancouver: Expressions of Reconciliation
October 3, 2013 ~ TRC Vancouver: Walking Together
October 18, 2013 ~ The Battle of the Thames