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.
The Closing Ceremony was held in the Panel Area, a space that was made to feel like a longhouse.
Leslie in front of one of the pillars at the entrance to the Panel Area
The Bentwood Box into which artifacts and writings are offered as part of the permanent record of the TRC can be seen at the front on the left.
Commissioners Chief Wilton Littlechild, Dr. Marie Wilson, and Jusice Murray Sinclair introducing the Survivor Birthday Party Celebration.
A Birthday Party for Survivors was held during the Closing Ceremonies. Churches in the lower mainland provided 4,000 cupcakes for the party. Everyone received a cupcake and glowstick. While the cupcakes were being distributed, “Happy Birthday” was sung in English and then in as many First Nations’ languages as were present as well as French and in sign language.
Justice Murray Sinclair giving closing remarks at the Closing Ceremonies of the TRC National Event on September 21st.
The annual gathering of Clearwater and area singers who love to sing in harmony and to tell the Christmas story in song has begun. The Voices United Community Choir will be presenting A New Birth, A New Beginning in December. Practices are on Wednesdays at St. James’ Catholic Church from 4:30 – 5:30.
Reconciliation Canada organized a Walk For Reconciliation for Sunday, September 22nd, the day following the last day of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s National Event held in Vancouver. Prior to the Walk, both the United Church and Anglican Church held worship services for those who would be walking. Leslie, from Clearwater United, attended the service at St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church and walked on behalf of the North Thompson Pastoral Charge.
Leslie was somewhere in the middle of this sea of umbrellas.
The Walk was a dream of Chief Dr. Robert Joseph who had hoped for 50,000 to join him. There were 70,000 people of all ages and all ethnicities who joined him on a soggy Vancouver morning. We gathered in front of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza. The keynote address was given by Dr. Bernice King.
Reconciliation Canada has posted a short video that gives a sense of the Walk.
The start of the Walk going past the stage on the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza
Moderator Gary Paterson’s blog “TRC Vancouver: Walking Together” gives a good sense of both the service at St. Andrew’s-Wesley and the Walk.
Crossing the Viaduct
Regardless of whether one walked the two or four kilometre route, a tile that had been painted by a child from somewhere in British Columbia was received.
The front of Leslie’s tile
During the Truth and Reconciliation’s National Event in Vancouver, there were times set aside each day for individuals, organizations (including a variety of religious groups), and representatives of the parties to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement to make statements, presentations, and/or apologies. Most placed some symbol (a written work, illustration, or object) into the Bentwood Box that is travelling to all the National Events and will eventually be housed in the National Research Centre at the University of Manitoba.
The United Church of Canada’s Moderator, Rev. Gary Paterson, captured the sense of these presentations in his blog titled “TRC Vancouver: Expressions of Reconciliation“. The following are links to some of the presentations that were made:
BC Conference of the United Church of Canada
Anglican Church of Canada
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver
Kairos Canada: BC/Yukon
University of British Columbia
Chief Bev Sellars presented her memoir, They Called Me Number One, published by Talonbooks
Resolution Managers of the Government of Canada
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
Union of BC Municipalities
During the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s National Event held in Vancouver from September 18th – 21st, the PNE Agrodome was transformed into the Learning Place.
It was filled with a variety of displays, vendors, and an area where Survivors and their family members could share their experiences with church representatives and receive a personal apology.
One of the displays, “100 Years of Loss”, included a large timeline and posters to highlight the history and legacy of residential schools.
(Click on the poster to the right to read all the words.)
The four denominations that had managed residential schools had archival displays. Read an earlier post for more information.
On Education Day (Thursday) of Reconciliation Week, 5,000 elementary and secondary students from around the province participated in educational activities at the TRC site. This video gives a glimpse of their day, what they learned, and their impressions.
At its September 29th Congregational Meeting, the Clearwater United Church congregation voted unanimously to become an Ecumenical Shared Ministry that relates to the Anglican Church of Canada, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, and the United Church of Canada. The work now begins to work with the North Thompson Pastoral Charge to write and approve the necessary documents to formalize the decision and to receive approval from the denominational judicatories for the wording of those documents. A committee is already formed to do this work. Then, hopefully, by the time of the Annual Congregational Meetings, there will be a time of celebration as we more formally continue our exploration of what it means to be an Ecumenical Shared Ministry.
Pastor Brian and the Rev. Ivy Thomas will facilitate a discussion where we explore “What might our church be and become?” on Thursday, October 3rd beginning at 4 pm at the Church of St Paul. Dinner will be provided. Everyone in the Pastoral Charge is welcome to participate in this discussion that will help us discover what will help our church become all that it can be.
The denominations who managed Residential Schools had displays of their archives available in the Learning Place at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s National Event in Vancouver. As well as the wall displays, they had binders of pictures and documents from the schools. Archivists and volunteers would help survivors and their family and friends locate information about their time at the schools.
Leslie R looking at the United Church Archives Display at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s National Event in Vancouver on September 21, 2013
Following the service on Sunday, September 29th, the Clearwater United congregation will be having a meeting to determine if it wants to become an Ecumenical Shared Ministry relating to the United Church of Canada, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. If yes, then both points (the other being the Church of St Paul in Barriere) of the North Thompson Pastoral Charge will be Ecumenical Shared Ministries. Also, a committee of the Pastoral Charge Board would then begin work on a Shared Ministry Agreement for the entire Pastoral Charge.
In the last few months, the people of the North Thompson Pastoral Charge have been moved to respond to events taking place beyond our region. The Church Women of the Church of St Paul sent contributions to the Canadian Red Cross as a result of the tragedy in Lac-Mégantic. They and Clearwater United Church responded to the United Church Alberta flood appeal by donating through the Mission and Service Fund, while the Church of St Paul gave funds directly to High River United Church. The Clearwater United Church has also sent funds gathered at fund raising events to Darby Memorial United Church in Bella Bella to be used to assist their community as it recovers from arson and vandalism.