Churches petition for commission on Native land rights

 — May 4, 20014 mai 2001

by Shannon Boklaschuk, Saskatoon Star Phoenix

A dozen Saskatoon Christian church leaders are calling on the federal government to establish an independent commission to implement aboriginal land and treaty rights.

The church leaders signed a petition Thursday advocating First Nations land rights during a signing ceremony outside City Hall.

The petition is being circulated to faith groups across Canada and is part of the Canadian Ecumenical Jubilee Initiative, a campaign dedicated to caring for and renewing the Earth.

“The church leaders are concerned about the world, they are concerned about the fact that we have places of injustice,” said Sister Anne Keffer of the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism.

The leaders represented included those from the United, Roman Catholic, Quaker, Presbyterian and Mennonite faiths.

Keffer, who helped organize the event, said aboriginal communities have been wounded by “a history of policy choices and broken promises.”

“It is from our aboriginal neighbours and friends that we need to learn how to care for the Earth and to listen. To achieve true healing of this wounded Canadian life, there’s work to do that requires the active co-operation of Canadians as a whole,” she said.

About 100 onlookers observed the signing ceremony, which included dancing and singing by members of the aboriginal faith community.

Ray Aldred, director of the First Nations Alliance Churches of Canada, said aboriginal people have suffered because of residential schools, loss of language and culture, and “the labelling of a people as backward.”

“This petition asked the federal government to work to renew their efforts to do justice and settle land claims not merely so Indians are placated, but so that every effort is made for the first peoples of this country to flourish,” he said.

Posted: May 4, 2001 • Permanent link:
Categories: NewsIn this article: church leaders, Indigenous peoples, statements, treaty
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Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : church leaders, Indigenous peoples, statements, treaty

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