Archive for tag: Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Archive pour tag : Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Remembering the Children

Remembering the Children: Aboriginal and Church Leaders prepare for Truth and Reconciliation

Cross-Canada Promotion Tour
Saskatchewan stop is March 9, 2008

Senior aboriginal and church leaders are crossing Canada this March to promote the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) which is being set up as part of the healing process set out in the Indian Residential Schools Agreement.

The tour seeks to bring awareness of the TRC to the general public and especially the people of the churches. At the invitation of the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism, Saskatoon will be one of the 4 stops on the tour. The PCE organizing committee is made up of representatives of the Roman Catholic, Anglican, United, and Presbyterian churches and the Mennonite Central Committee. Other stops are Ottawa, Winnipeg and Vancouver. We asked for the tour to have a Saskatchewan stop because the residential schools issue is so important in our province.

The Saskatoon event is Sunday, March 9 at the Western Development Museum, starting at 3.00 pm, concluding with a feast & round dance.

Assembly of First Nations leaders and Regional Chiefs are part of the tour, along with senior staff from the Office of the Interim Director of the TRC. The other members include the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Anglican National Indigenous Bishop, the Moderator of the United Church of Canada and the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Local church and political leaders will offer a word of welcome to the national tour team at the event. The AFN will be in touch with chiefs in the region about this, and the FSIN have been invited to be present

We are excited that this important event is coming to Saskatchewan. This is a public event. We hope you can be there and will tell others about it. There is no charge for the event. A donations basket is available. Pre-registration is strongly advised to help us plan seating, and is ESSENTIAL if you will be staying for the feast. Register by phone (306-653-1633) or email pce [at] ecumenism [dot] net or write to the PCE at 600-45th Street West, Saskatoon, S7L 5W9.

Yours sincerely,

Rev. Dr. Jan Bigland-Pritchard
Executive Director,
Prairie Centre for Ecumenism (for the Restorative Justice Committee)

For background on the TRC go to www.residentialschoolssettlement.ca
The tour website is www.rememberingthechildren.ca
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Posted: February 7, 2008 • Permanent link: https://ecumenism.net/?p=423 In this article: Canada, events, restorative justice, Saskatoon, Truth and Reconciliation Commission Transmis : 7 février 2008 • Lien permanente : https://ecumenism.net/?p=423 Dans cet article : Canada, events, restorative justice, Saskatoon, Truth and Reconciliation Commission


Aboriginal, church leaders’ tour aims to aid residential school healing process

from the Saskatoon Star Phoenix Aboriginal and church leaders are joining together on a cross-country tour aimed at helping the healing process related to residential schools. The event, Remembering the Children, will make a stop in Saskatoon Sunday. The city is one of four being visited, along with Ottawa, Vancouver and Winnipeg. The purpose of
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Posted: March 7, 2008 • Permanent link: https://ecumenism.net/?p=6078
Categories: NewsIn this article: Indigenous peoples, Residential Schools, Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Transmis : 7 mars 2008 • Lien permanente : https://ecumenism.net/?p=6078
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : Indigenous peoples, Residential Schools, Truth and Reconciliation Commission


We are Remembering the Children

by the Rev. Dr. Jan Bigland-Pritchard,
Director of the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism

It all began in the middle of the night, sometime in December. The previous day I had email to say that very senior aboriginal and church leaders were going to cross the country together to promote the work of the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This was exciting. The TRC struck me as a courageous way to help heal this wound in our national soul.

My heart sank, however, when I read the proposed itinerary. No mention of Saskatchewan. “How typical”, I thought, the chip on my prairie-girl shoulder well in place. I thought: it doesn’t matter to those people ‘down east’ that Saskatchewan has a very large native population, that many residential schools were located here. With a fatalistic sigh, I went to bed.

And woke up in the middle of the night. There was no question: I had to write to the organizers and urge them to come to Saskatchewan. A few minutes on the internet brought up the email address. I wrote at once, urging our case and offering the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism as the local partner.

How could I make such a commitment in the middle of the night, with no hesitation and no consultation? It was simple: the amazing PCE network. 24 years of building inter-church partnerships paid off. The PCE‘s Restorative Justice Committee usually just do one workshop in November, but 2007 was different. Our focus was the continuing racial divide in our region. The question we asked was how can we, as native and non-native people, walk together to heal our communities? It was clear that this would not be a one-off event, but a process. We began to seek aboriginal partners and found them. There was a growing sense that God was taking us somewhere, well out of our comfort zones. The stage was set.

On January 11 we got word that the national tour, impressed by the strength of our invitation, was coming to Saskatoon on March 9. Hastily the Restorative Justice committee assembled, and others were invited on board — including Ethel Ahenakew of the Saskatoon Native Ministry, Alan Jacques, who ministers on the Dakota Whitecap First Nation, Mary Ann Assailly, of the Anglican diocesan outreach network.

We were excited. Someone asked how many people will come. I said I wasn’t sure, but we should prepare for up to 400. There was incredulous laughter. (We are used to disappointment.) But we persuaded ourselves to think big, and got to work — especially Carol Zubiak our chair, and Carol Penner, our office manager. We were delighted when FaithLife Financial stepped up to the plate and gave us $1,000 to help.

Four churches ran residential schools on behalf of the federal government — Anglican, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and United. Their local church leaders were enthusiastic about the March 9 visit, and promoted the event among their people. Chief Lawrence Joseph, head of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, flew to Ottawa to check out the national launch of the tour. That convinced him that the churches were sincere. He agreed to speak in Saskatoon, and promoted the event with Saskatchewan native leaders.

Invitations went out far and wide — oh the wonders of email. The press releases went out. We held our breath.

Then the phone began to ring. The computer went crazy. Media said they were coming. By the week of the tour, we were arranging overflow seating and urging the Western Development Museum to squeeze in more seats and stand by with extra food.

On the day we counted 471 going past the registration desk. People were streaming in, white and native, old and young. There was a line-up of those wanting to smudge. The perfume of sweetgrass filled the air. People sat at round and long, tables, filling the hall. Expectant and a little nervous.

On stage the national tour’s display featured a young native boy’s face, with a very institutional haircut. His face appeared on the podium as well. When Ted Quewezance, residential school survivor and head of the survivor’s society, stood at the podium and told his story. I felt I was time travelling, for Ted — a man in his fifties or sixties — bore an uncanny resemblance to that little boy.

Each church leader spoke well, with words of clear apology for a very serious wrong. Chief Joseph had called it a ‘holocaust’. The uncomfortable truth, new to me, was that many children never came home from those residential schools. Many died or disappeared. We must remember. There is so much that most non-native people don’t know.

The program ran long, but the audience stayed with it. There were tissues placed on each table. They were needed. Many were touched — the audience, the museum serving staff, the media people, the local sound technician. A young Métis prison worked shared her sense of delight about the event. A school survivor in her sixties told me about the great sense of lightness and peace that had come upon her as the afternoon unfolded.

We finished with a meal and a round dance. When I went to the microphone and asked “Who’s ready for some singing and dancing?” there were whoops and shouts and applause. As ‘Young Thunder’ drummed and sang, a circle of people formed, holding hands, dancing around the edge of the hall. Native and white together, moving to the drum, a ring reaching not just once around the hall, but in places two lines thick. A moment of declaration. A moment of hope.

People asked me, “Are you coming back next year?” The question was about whether the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, when it shapes its itinerary for the major city events, will remember to come to Saskatchewan. We need them to come.

At the PCE, we’ll be standing by for the phone call.

• For background on the Truth & Reconciliation Commission go to www.residentialschoolssettlement.ca
• The tour website is www.rememberingthechildren.ca
• A Most Holy Day – The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, reflects on the Saskatoon stop of the tour.
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Posted: March 13, 2008 • Permanent link: https://ecumenism.net/?p=436
Categories: NewsIn this article: Canada, healing, Indigenous peoples, Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Transmis : 13 mars 2008 • Lien permanente : https://ecumenism.net/?p=436
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : Canada, healing, Indigenous peoples, Truth and Reconciliation Commission


Justice LaForme chosen to chair Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Justice LaForme chosen to chair Truth and Reconciliation Commission

[Marites S. Sison • Anglican Journal] Justice Harry S. LaForme, an aboriginal Ontario Court of Appeal judge, has been appointed by the federal government to chair an independent commission that will hear the stories and promote public education about the 150-year legacy of the now-defunct Indian residential schools.

“This is an important step in our commitment to the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement, and another example of our government doing the right thing for former students, and all Canadians,” said Minister of Indian Affairs Chuck Strahl who announced on April 28 Justice LaForme’s appointment as chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in Ottawa. Mr. Strahl said that Justice LaForme, who is a member of the Mississaugas of New Credit First Nations in southern Ontario, “brings a wealth of respect and leadership experience and is the most senior aboriginal judge in the country.”

Assembly of First Nations chief Phil Fontaine hailed Justice LaForme’s appointment saying, “Not only is he a proud First Nations citizen, he is an outstanding jurist and a compassionate and understanding person.” He added: “I have no doubt he will leave no stoned unturned in his investigation of exactly what happened in residential schools, the harm caused, why and how it happened and who was responsible. At the same time, he will bring the grace and compassion required in the truth commission’s work so necessary for healing to begin.”

The Canadian Press quoted Justice La Forme as having said that the TRC is important “not so we can punish, but so we can walk forward into the future.” He also said he was proud to live in a country that was willing to examine a “horrendous” chapter of its history.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, sent his envoy for residential schools, retired Archishop Terence Finlay, as his representative to attend the announcement of Justice LaForme’s appointment in Ottawa. Archbishop Hiltz is currently attending a meeting in Chennai, India of the Anglican-Lutheran International Commission.

Last March, Archbishop Hiltz and Bishop Mark MacDonald, national Anglican indigenous bishop, joined other church leaders in a national tour to raise awareness about the commission.

Justice LaForme was unanimously chosen from more than 300 nominees by a panel composed of representatives from national native organizations and parties to the revised settlement agreement that came into effect last September. He will help select the two other members of the commission, which is part of the revised settlement agreement between the government, representatives of former residential schools students and churches who operated the boarding schools.

The TRC is meant to provide former students and their families with a chance to share their experiences in a “holistic, culturally-appropriate and safe setting.” Representatives of government and churches that operated the schools will also be invited to share their stories. (The Anglican church operated 35 of about 130 boarding schools attended by aboriginals from the mid-19th century into the 1970s. In recent years, hundreds of former students have sued the church and the federal government, which owned the schools, alleging physical and sexual abuse.)

During its five-year term, the commission will produce a report and recommendations, and establish a national archive/research center regarding residential schools.

Justice LaForme, 61, began his law career as an associate of a corporate commercial law firm before specializing in aboriginal law. He has litigated and focused on matters involving the Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

He was appointed a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice, now the Superior Court of Justice, in 1994. At the time of his appointment, he was one of three native judges appointed to this level of trial court in Canada. He was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal in 2004.

In 1989, he was appointed commissioner of the Indian Commission of Ontario, and in 1991, as chief commissioner of the Indian Specific Claims Commission on Aboriginal land claims.

Justice LaForme has taught “The Rights of Indigenous Peoples” course at Osgoode Law School, where he graduated in 1977.

He has been awarded with the National Aboriginal Achievement Award (1997) and aboriginal elders have, on three occasions, presented him with an eagle feather, symbolizing the virtues of honesty, integrity, and respect.
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Posted: April 28, 2008 • Permanent link: https://ecumenism.net/?p=450
Categories: Anglican JournalIn this article: Canada, healing, Indigenous peoples, Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Transmis : 28 avril 2008 • Lien permanente : https://ecumenism.net/?p=450
Catégorie : Anglican JournalDans cet article : Canada, healing, Indigenous peoples, Truth and Reconciliation Commission


Government of Canada apologizes to Aboriginal peoples

Government of Canada apologizes to Aboriginal peoples

In what has been widely described as an historic opportunity for reconciliation with aboriginal peoples, the Prime Minister of Canada rose in the House of Commons on Wednesday to apologize to aboriginal peoples for the residential schools operated under government supervision by the Anglican, Presbyterian, United and Catholic churches. The apology was carried live on television and radio across Canada, and provided an opportunity for Canadians to pause to reflect on the legacy of these schools and the policies that they enacted.

Residential schools were developed in the 1870s as part of a policy of assimilation. As the PM explained: “Two primary objectives of the residential schools system were to remove and isolate children from the influence of their homes, families, traditions and cultures, and to assimilate them into the dominant culture. These objectives were based on the assumption aboriginal cultures and spiritual beliefs were inferior and unequal. Indeed, some sought, as it was infamously said, ‘to kill the Indian in the child.’ Today, we recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country.”

In addition to the general apology for the residential schools, the PM also expressed five specific apologies:

“Therefore, on behalf of the government of Canada and all Canadians, I stand before you, in this chamber so central to our life as a country, to apologize to aboriginal peoples for Canada’s role in the Indian residential schools system.

To the approximately 80,000 living former students, and all family members and communities, the government of Canada now recognizes that it was wrong to forcibly remove children from their homes and we apologize for having done this.

We now recognize that it was wrong to separate children from rich and vibrant cultures and traditions, that it created a void in many lives and communities, and we apologize for having done this.

We now recognize that, in separating children from their families, we undermined the ability of many to adequately parent their own children and sowed the seeds for generations to follow, and we apologize for having done this.

We now recognize that, far too often, these institutions gave rise to abuse or neglect and were inadequately controlled, and we apologize for failing to protect you.

Not only did you suffer these abuses as children, but as you became parents, you were powerless to protect your own children from suffering the same experience, and for this we are sorry.”

Resources:

• The full text of the PM’s apology
• Video of the PM’s apology (CBC.ca)
• In depth background information by the CBC on Residential schools and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
• Historic apology to residential schools students seen as a beginning (Anglican Journal)
• After the Apology of June 11, 2008: A Prayer (United Church of Canada)
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Posted: June 11, 2008 • Permanent link: https://ecumenism.net/?p=467
Categories: NewsIn this article: Canada, Indigenous peoples, Stephen Harper, Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Transmis : 11 juin 2008 • Lien permanente : https://ecumenism.net/?p=467
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : Canada, Indigenous peoples, Stephen Harper, Truth and Reconciliation Commission


Catholic pastoral letter on Truth & Reconciliation

Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops of Saskatchewan on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

From June 21st to 24th, Saskatoon will host one of the seven national gatherings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). We are writing to invite you to give serious attention to this gathering and its aims.
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Posted: June 7, 2012 • Permanent link: https://ecumenism.net/?p=2214
Categories: NewsIn this article: abuse, bishops, Catholic, Donald Bolen, Indigenous peoples, Residential Schools, Saskatchewan, Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Transmis : 7 juin 2012 • Lien permanente : https://ecumenism.net/?p=2214
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : abuse, bishops, Catholic, Donald Bolen, Indigenous peoples, Residential Schools, Saskatchewan, Truth and Reconciliation Commission


TRC to hold final public event this March

Members of the the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), political leaders, church leaders and Aboriginal organizations celebrate the opening of the sixth national TRC event in Vancouver, September 2013.The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), formed in 2008 to help begin healing over Canada’s residential school system for Indigenous peoples, will be holding its final public event at the end of March in Edmonton.

Similar to past events, this one will feature traditional ceremonies, survivor gatherings and statements, an education day, and more.

Although the mandate of the TRC has been extended through 2015, this final public event signals the end of a journey and the beginning of a new one for those who have been involved.

National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald is already looking to the future.

“It has become more and more clear as we’ve gone on that this is a beginning, and not an end. This is the beginning of reconciliation. I don’t think that after we finish this, anybody will say ‘Well, we did that!'”

“I think the next steps on the path are the building of the positive relationships between non-Indigenous people and institutions, and Indigenous people. It’s all about building on the bedrock of reconciliation.”
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Posted: January 31, 2014 • Permanent link: https://ecumenism.net/?p=7259
Categories: NewsIn this article: Anglican, Canada, Indigenous peoples, Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Transmis : 31 janvier 2014 • Lien permanente : https://ecumenism.net/?p=7259
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : Anglican, Canada, Indigenous peoples, Truth and Reconciliation Commission


Presbyterian Statement on Aboriginal Spiritual Practices

An aboriginal dancerAs part of the churches’ commitment to a journey of truth and reconciliation, The Presbyterian Church in Canada has learned that many facets of Aboriginal traditional spiritualties bring life and oneness with creation. Accepting this has sometimes been a challenge for The Presbyterian Church in Canada. We are now aware that there is a wide variety of aboriginal spiritual practices and we acknowledge that it is for our church to continue in humility to learn the deep significance of these practices and to respect them and the Aboriginal elders who are the keepers of their traditional sacred truths….

These practices are received as gifts and serve to enrich our congregations. Ceremonies and traditions such as smudging, the circle/medicine wheel, drum songs and drumming, and indigenous wisdom teachings have been some of the practices our church has experienced as gifts from Aboriginal brothers and sisters. We acknowledge and respect both Aboriginal members of The Presbyterian Church in Canada who wish to bring traditional practices into their congregations and those Aboriginal members who are not comfortable or willing to do so. The church must be a community where all are valued and respected. It is not for The Presbyterian Church in Canada to validate or invalidate Aboriginal spiritualties and practices. Our church, however, is deeply respectful of these traditions. We acknowledge them as important spiritual practices through which Aboriginal peoples experience the presence of the creator God. In this spirit The Presbyterian Church in Canada is committed to walking with Aboriginal people in seeking shared truth that will lead to restoring right relations.
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Posted: January 29, 2015 • Permanent link: https://ecumenism.net/?p=8013
Categories: DocumentsIn this article: Indigenous peoples, Presbyterian Church in Canada, Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Transmis : 29 janvier 2015 • Lien permanente : https://ecumenism.net/?p=8013
Catégorie : DocumentsDans cet article : Indigenous peoples, Presbyterian Church in Canada, Truth and Reconciliation Commission


Response of the Churches to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

The Anglican Church of Canada, The Presbyterian Church in Canada, the Roman Catholic Entities Parties to the Settlement Agreement, The United Church of Canada and the Jesuits of English Canada make the following statement in response to the findings and Calls to Action issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

It is with gratitude and humility that we are here today to speak together as representatives of churches that participated in the operation of Indian Residential Schools. We are grateful to the Commissioners and staff of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada for the commitment with which they have carried out their mandate, and we are humbled in the knowledge that we continue to share a responsibility to ensure that the task of reconciliation does not end today.
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Posted: June 2, 2015 • Permanent link: https://ecumenism.net/?p=8618
Categories: DocumentsIn this article: Anglican Church of Canada, Catholic, Jesuits, Presbyterian Church in Canada, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, United Church of Canada
Transmis : 2 juin 2015 • Lien permanente : https://ecumenism.net/?p=8618
Catégorie : DocumentsDans cet article : Anglican Church of Canada, Catholic, Jesuits, Presbyterian Church in Canada, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, United Church of Canada


Canada’s First Nations urge churches to press for improved conditions in aboriginal communities

Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations. Photo: United Church of CanadaWhat do indigenous peoples expect of churches in light of the report of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) on church-run residential schools for aboriginal children? Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, responds in this interview with the World Council of Churches (WCC) Communications.

The TRC report on the impact of more than 100 years of residential schools includes 94 recommendations addressed to the country’s federal and provincial governments, churches and society at large. A number are related to concerns for child welfare, education, and health in indigenous communities.

Canada’s best-known aboriginal leader Perry Bellegarde is urging the country’s churches to take advantage of the current federal election campaign to press for measures to close the gap in the standard of living between Canada’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

“The gap is not good for the country. There is a high social cost,” says Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the advocacy organization representing Canada’s 900,000 aboriginal people.

Bellegarde is urging church members to ask candidates about their plans for improving schooling, health care, and housing in Indigenous communities.
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Posted: October 8, 2015 • Permanent link: https://ecumenism.net/?p=8800
Categories: WCC NewsIn this article: Canada, Indigenous peoples, Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Transmis : 8 octobre 2015 • Lien permanente : https://ecumenism.net/?p=8800
Catégorie : WCC NewsDans cet article : Canada, Indigenous peoples, Truth and Reconciliation Commission


A Statement on the TRC ‘Calls to Action’ from the Anglican House of Bishops

The bentwood box into which participants in the Truth and reconciliation Commission hearings placed their statements of repentance and commitmentAs bishops of The Anglican Church of Canada we are very grateful for the work of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Many of us have participated in the local, regional, and national gatherings hosted by Chief Justice Murray Sinclair, Dr. Marie Wilson, and Chief Wilton Littlechild. At the heart of every gathering was the opportunity for survivors of the Indian Residential Schools to tell their stories. We recognize the tremendous courage of all who shared their experiences of loneliness, humiliation and abuse. We commend the Commissioners for their steadfastness in listening to these stories and ensuring that they are never lost but preserved for all time in the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation in Winnipeg. Having heard the testimony of thousands of former students and the inter-generational impact of their experiences on their families, the Commissioners issued at the Closing Ceremonies for the TRC in Ottawa in June, 94 Calls to Action.
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Posted: October 26, 2015 • Permanent link: https://ecumenism.net/?p=8832
Categories: Anglican Journal, CommuniquéIn this article: Anglican Church of Canada, bishops, Indigenous peoples, Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Transmis : 26 octobre 2015 • Lien permanente : https://ecumenism.net/?p=8832
Catégorie : Anglican Journal, CommuniquéDans cet article : Anglican Church of Canada, bishops, Indigenous peoples, Truth and Reconciliation Commission