All Nations Canoe Gathering

As a prelude to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s National Event in Vancouver, British Columbia, Reconciliation Canada organized the All Nations Canoe Gathering for Tuesday, September 17th in False Creek.  Reports of this event can be read and viewed on a variety of news websites.  Some of the reports are

“Paddlers hit the water for Reconciliation Week” from the CBC

“Canoe Gathering kicks off events for B.C. Reconciliation Week” from the September 16th issue of the Vancouver Sun explains why an Iranian outreach worker was included in a Nisga’a canoe.

“First Nations canoe gathering marks start of Truth and Reconciliation Week” from the September 17th issue of the Vancouver Sun gives the story of one of the survivors and links to other pictures and articles.

“First Strokes of Justice at Reconciliation Hearings” from The Tyee

Letter from Bishop Greg encouraging participation in the Walk for Reconciliation

In a letter to congregations and Rostered Ministers of the BC Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Bishop Greg recognizes that while the “Lutheran church was not directly involved in operating residential schools, as members of the Canadian public we nonetheless are complicit in the systems that led to such actions.”

As well as giving some background information and describing the decisions and participation of Anglican churches, Bishop Greg encourages Lutherans to attend the Walk for Reconciliation.

The Walk for Reconciliation is one more step along the journey of establishing renewed relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.  I invite and encourage each of you to pray, prepare, and learn during this National Event of September 18 to 21.  Please attend whatever part of the Truth Commission you are able.  Then, on September 22nd, join tens of thousands of other Canadians of good will – Indigenous and non-Indigenous, of all faiths and none – in walking together towards renewed relationships for us all.

Bishop Greg concludes his letter with this desire and prayer: “May God’s spirit move among us as we seek reconciliation and renewed relationships.”

For information on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Residential Schools see Truth and Reconciliation on this website.

Truth and Reconciliation Logo

TRC circle logoThe shape of the TRC logo — a circle — reflects the Circle of Life.  In the Circle, we join together to share truth.

The flames sustain life in the Circle and provide safety and sustenance.  Most importantly, the flames shed light on what needs to be shared in the Circle — the experiences of those affected by Indian Residential Schools.

The seven flames that make up the circle represent the seven sacred teachings: love, respect, courage, honesty, wisdom, humility and truth.  The Truth and Reconciliation Commission draws on each of those teachings in the work of truth-gathering, truth-telling, reconciliation, and each TRC National Event is dedicated to one of them.  The British Columbia National Event is dedicated to the sacred teaching of honesty.

~ from the TRC British Columbia National Event Program

Week of Reconciliation

Monday, September 16th begins a week long Reconciliation event in Vancouver that includes the sixth of seven national events hosted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  Each TRC National Event is dedicated to one of the Seven Sacred Teachings – love, respect, courage, honesty, wisdom, humility and truth.  The Vancouver event is dedicated to honesty.  It takes place from the 18th to 21st at the PNE.  A major component of this time is to hear and witness to the stories of survivors of the Residential Schools.  The full programme is available on the TRC website.

This Vancouver Sun article gives some background and describes the importance of this event.  The article begins “Blame and anger will not be the emotions fuelling 76-year-old residential school survivor Alvin Dixon as he takes part in Truth and Reconciliation events in Vancouver next week.  He instead is seeking mutual respect from all Canadians, as a way to acknowledge past sins to First Nations children and commit to working together to build a better future.”  Dixon serves on the United Church’s General Council Executive.

A brief description of the event, United Church participation, and some history are found on the BC Conference website.

For information on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Residential Schools see Truth and Reconciliation on this website.

Syrian Refugee Relief Appeals

All three denominations have established relief funds for Syrian refugees through their mission organizations.  Individuals who wish to donate can contribute directly to a denomination or put your donation in with your offering, clearly marking your envelope for the amount that you want to go to Syrian relief.  To read more about these appeals, check out these links:

Each denomination has already provided some emergency funding or supplies to their partners in the region.

CBC’s Daybreak North interviews prof about hunger and medical experiments in residential schools

Host of Daybreak North, Betsy Trumpener, speaks with Mary-Ellen Kelm, the Canada Research Chair in History, Medicine, and Society at Simon Fraser University.  Hear the interview in which she comments on recently released research, her many conversations with First Nations elders regarding hunger at residential schools, and her own archival research.

“A Step Along the Path” – marking the 20th Anniversary of the Anglican Church’s apology to residential school survivors

On August 6th, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, marked the 20th anniversary of Archbishop Michael Peers’ apology to the survivors of residential schools with this statement.

In it, Hiltz states “Then and there the apology was offered-quietly and prayerfully. The next day Vi Smith, speaking on behalf of the elders and participants, said, “It was offered from the heart with sincerity, sensitivity, compassion and humility… We offer praise and thanks to our Creator for his courage.”  Here and now we give thanks to God for Michael’s leadership.  Far-sighted and firm, it set our Church on a new trajectory of healing, reconciliation and new life from which we can never turn back. While Michael described the apology as “a step along the path,” it was, in fact, a huge step.”

For information on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Residential Schools see Truth and Reconciliation.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission is able to explore Canada’s Archives for the first time

CBC reports that “the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada is heading into the federal government’s archives Tuesday to gather more of the 3.5 million documents related to residential schools.

“At first, the federal government refused to give the TRC access to all federal residential school documents, but in January, a judge ordered the government to hand over all relevant documents.

Read more . . .

For more information on the Commission and Residential Schools see Truth and Reconciliation.