Truth and Reconciliation: It Matters to Me
Our Cathedral supports the work of the Truth Reconciliation Commission to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.
The Commission have published 94 "calls to action" which urge all levels of government — federal, provincial, territorial and aboriginal — to work together to change policies and programs in a concerted effort to repair the harm caused by residential schools and move forward with reconciliation.
The "calls to action" are divided into two parts: legacy (1 to 42) and reconciliation (43 to 94.) Our Cathedral voted as to which ‘call to action’ we would first focus on to be part of the truth and reconciliation process. Our community chose ‘Call 62’ which is part of the Education for reconciliation.
- We call upon the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, in consultation and collaboration with Survivors, Aboriginal peoples, and educators, to
- Make age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada a mandatory education requirement for Kindergarten to Grade Twelve students
- Provide the necessary funding to post-secondary institutions to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms.
- Provide the necessary funding to Aboriginal schools to utilize Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods in classrooms
- Establish senior-level positions in government at the assistant deputy minister level or higher dedicated to Aboriginal content in education.
Resources and Links
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Anglican Church of Canada
- Doctrine of Discovery: Stolen Lands, Strong Hearts - Anglican Church of Canada's award-winning film (Study Guide)
- Litany: We are still here - developed by the Primate’s Commission on the Doctrine of Discovery, Justice and Reconciliation
- Let our “yes” be yes - statement by Archbishop Fred Hiltz
- Truth and Reconciliation
- Resources on Truth and Reconciliation
Dr. Shaueen Pete - 100 Ways to Indigenize and Decolonize Academic Programs and Courses:
Kairos: Winds of Change campaign
Truth and Reconciliation Posts
- Come help plan next action steps! May 18, 2017
Two years ago, the final report of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission was received, with tolling of bells and interviews in the media from coast to coast to coast. A year later, Canada formally removed its objector status to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples–almost a decade after it was adopted by the United Nations. But the Indian Act is incompatible with this Declaration. Much work remains to be done. What are the sticking points? Where can progress be made? On Saturday, May 20, 2017, Montrealers are invited to a one-day interfaith conference to plan practical projects to advance reconciliation. Place: Westmount High School, 4350 Ste Catherine Street West. Time: 9 am to 5 pm Cost: $10 freewill offering Preregister at 514 273-5047 or write to 520conference [at] gmail.com
- Ecumenical Conference on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples April 19, 2017
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples A challenge for Canadians, an opportunity for churches 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Saturday, May 20, 2017 Westmount High School, 4350 Saint-Catherine St, Westmount, QC H3Z 1R1 You are warmly invited to participate in this conference organized by the four denominations signatory to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian and United) together with Lutheran and Quaker representatives. The conference will frame the UN Indigenous Declaration toward practical proposals for actionable, measurable projects of reconciliation by churches and other organizations in the Montreal area working hand-in-hand with Indigenous peoples. Pre-registration is requested by May 12 at 514 725-5047 or
- Putting the Gospel in the middle of the Sacred Circle May 10, 2016
“Putting the Gospel in the Centre of our Sacred Circle” is one way to share individually or in small groups with a practice used by Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island. (Similar methods have been used in Latin America.) Any event or meeting can be organized and carried out with the Gospel in the centre. To do this, read gospel passage aloud three times, followed each time by a short reflection and sharing: (1) what word(s), idea, or phrase stands out? (2) what is the Gospel/Jesus saying to me? (3) what is the Gospel/Jesus calling me to do?. Here is a fuller description of the method and, for starters, a link to daily Bible Readings for May 2016 .
- The ongoing work of reconciliation … how will you take part? February 5, 2016
For Lent this year, SJAG (the Cathedral’s Social Justice Action Group) proposes we select one of the 94 recommendations put forward by the Truth & Reconciliation Commission in their final report in 2015. They have winnowed these down to 10 possibilities… and invite you to vote on Sunday or to take part in this doodle poll to help choose one of them. Whether you wish to learn more, to pray about this subject, or to attend public events in Montreal where this topic will be ‘front of mind,’ please do consider how you will act to be mindful of reconciliation this Lent. You can read some of the background on the Anglican Church of Canada’s web site. You can use these prayers for the Four Directions of Reconciliation, compiled from the prayer resources on that site. You can attend one or more events in our community: McGill’s Indigenous Studies program is offering a four-day series of events on Decolonialization, February 9-12 including a public lecture at 9 am Friday Feb 12 on the McGill campus and other events in town and at Kahnewake. The visiting guest speaker/expert is Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. Here’s a link to her article http://decolonization.org/index.php/des/article/view/22170 On Saturday evening, Feb 27, a panel discussion on the Doctrine of Discovery (the notion that Europeans discovered this continent, and explored/settled an empty land) at St. John’s Estonian-Finnish Church in NDG on Saturday February 27. There is no fee or registration form. (Both the Lutheran and the Anglican churches have formally repudiated this doctrine, but others have not, and related work remains to be done.) The panelists will be Kenneth Deer, Secretary, Mohawk Nation at Kahnawake, Kanien’kehá:ka Raymond Aldred, head of the Indigenous Studies Program, Vancouver School of Theology, Cree; and Allen Jorgenson, Professor of Theology and Assistant Dean, Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, Kitchener-Waterloo, Settler. On Saturday March 19 there’s an all day conference at McGill featuring many speakers, research, performance art, and a keynote by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson.
- Generosity and Grace: Reflections on the North July 13, 2015
During the past ten years, I have had the great privilege and challenge of working with Cree and Inuit children who live in Northern Quebec and Nunavik. I am very much indebted to the cathedral community, and the social action group, for this opportunity to share some reflections on this experience.As a literacy specialist and psych-educational consultant, my role in the north has been to assess children who have been puzzling their teachers – children who are struggling despite their apparently good ability, and for whom the usual interventions have not been working. Both my daughter Stephanie (aka Taddy) and my husband Ron have been involved in this work as well, and sometimes we have had the opportunity to travel together. Taddy and Ron, both Métis, have an intuitive bond both with the people and with the land, as well as a wealth of professional expertise. Ron, who is a professor in the school psychology programme at McGill, has taught me most of what I know about assessing children in difficulty. Taddy, who was forced by ill-health to leave graduate work in linguistics at Oxford, has taught me about translation – cultural as well and linguistic, and has shown me how the first languages of Inuit and Cree children are related to the specific difficulties they sometimes experience in learning written English. Some of the many other people to whom I am indebted to helping me with the transition are mentioned in the pages that follow although, in some cases, the names have been changed. Presentations about the north tend to focus on the Bad News – the drugs, the alcohol, the poverty, the homelessness, the wounds caused by the residential schools and more generally by the whole process of colonisation. These things are real – but they only part of a bigger picture. Justice Murray Sinclair, in his concluding remarks at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission closing in Ottawa, commented on the “generosity and grace” with which many residential school survivors acknowledged in their testimony those teachers who had treated them with kindness. I was struck by the phrase, which seemed to sum up the way I myself have been treated during my visits to the north. The people of the north remind me of what my mentor in psychology, the Viennese psychiatrist and neural surgeon Viktor Frankl, used to call the defiant power of the human spirit. They also remind me of what my other mentor – ecologist and Catholic priest Thomas Berry – used to say about the intimate connection between the human imaginination and the land. Berry believed that the human mind and spirit have evolved to reflect the richness of the natural world in which we developed as a species and more recently as a panoply of diverse cultures. We have, in effect, a Garden of Eden in our genes, and in our collective imagination. But every race has a somewhat different garden. Read the rest of Brenda’s presentation: https://www.montrealcathedral.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Generosity-and-Grace_Brenda-Linn.pdf
- Reflections on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission July 7, 2015
Taddy Stringer is Métis and a parishioner and chorister at Christ Church Cathedral and an activist committed to human rights both internationally and in Canada. Taddy also works as a psycho-educational consultant in the many Cree and Inuit communities of James Bay, Hudson’s Bay and the Ungava coast. When I was invited to speak to the congregation about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, I found myself very much at a loss as to what to say, not because there was too little to be said, but because there was far too much. I have decided to focus on things glossed over by the press, together with some of my own observations and experiences. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was paid for out of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. Its budget had to cover not only the Commission’s five-year mandate, but to establish a permanent archive, the National Research Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, housed at the University of Manitoba. The TRC was mandated to gather information and hear testimony, but it had no investigative and judicial powers. Since it’s testimony could not be used to prosecute, it had also no power to grant amnesty. The original chair was Justice Harry LaForme, of the New Credit First Nation, the judge who wrote the Ontario Superior Court decision in support of same-sex marriage. But so daunting was the task of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that Justice LaForme, as well as the other two original Commissioners, resigned within a year. The remarkable people who replaced them have carefully deflected media attention from themselves to their work and the experiences of the survivors. Justice Murray Sinclair is Ojibwe (Anishnabe), a judge of the superior court of Manitoba since 2001. He is the son and grandson of residential school survivors. Dr. Marie Wilson is a journalist. She covered the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, and on her return to Canada, she launched the first daily news service for the North, in English, French and eight indigenous languages. Chief Wilton Littlechild, of the Maskwacis Cree First Nation in Alberta, is a lawyer, former MP, parliamentary delegate to the UN, and North American representative to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. A residential school survivor, Littlechild was, as he put it in one interview “not too bad at sports.” (The interviewer left it at that, never finding out that Littlechild competed internationally in hockey, baseball and swimming, and brought home more than one gold medal for Canada.) At the Montreal volunteer training session, Chief Littlechild arrived unannounced to thank every one for being there. He explained that, as a school survivor, this was very important to him personally, and that it seemed to him the presence of so many people from such different backgrounds all wanting to participate and help with the event was already a sign of reconciliation. At the very end of the hearings, Chief Littlechild was still present and accessible. As we were packing up, and people were drifting away, an elderly woman whose husband had attended a residential school, and was now in hospital with cancer, called to say she had just heard about the event on the radio, and wanted to share their experiences. The organisers wanted to tell her it was too late, but Chief Littlechild said, “I’ll wait for her, and talk to her when she arrives.” I realised it hadn’t occurred to me that he might say anything else. The six national hearings, and local hearings in 77 smaller communities, were times of mourning. One of my tasks, in Montreal, was to pass out boxes of tissue, and glasses of water. The Closing Event in Ottawa was markedly more cheerful. There was a strong sense that the taboo of silence had been broken; that survivors and the families of survivors could speak without shame of what had been done to them, and that, if they did so, they were less likely to meet hostility, incomprehension or disbelief from their non-aboriginal friends or colleagues. Even having a name, “trauma”, for what they had experienced, and having the assurance that their reaction had not been abnormal, seemed to help some survivors to begin to find healing. The organisers of the events in Ottawa were careful, on the one hand, to give people an opportunity to express their sadness, anger, pain, and on the other, to leave people feeling better than when they came. A talent show in Ottawa on Monday night (featuring almost exclusively professional indigenous artists) began at sunset with songs for the children who had never returned. But by the end I found myself dancing to rock and roll with a grandmother from Baffin Island in her traditional floor length skirt and kerchief, and a three-year-old from the West coast of James Bay, whose parents were fiddling on the stage. The next day there was a blessing by the elders, and a blanket dance for a family who had walked all the way from Attawapiskat to attend (everyone who wishes to puts some money, discreetly and anonymously, on the blanket as they dance). Those who, at the end of it all, were the most upset and angry were not so much bothered by the past as by the present. A grandmother from one of the Atikamekw communities in Quebec was more distressed by the ongoing logging in La Vérendrye, than by all the abuse she had suffered as a child. A Dene woman broke down and cried, not when speaking of the abuse she had suffered from the bishop and priests, but while describing how children from her community were still being taken from their parents by Child Services, without any attempt being made to help the parents or extended families (often residential school survivors themselves) care for them. “This is the present,” she told her audience, “and it’s your votes.” Never, in Montreal or in Ottawa, did I hear anyone blame all non-aboriginal Canadians, all Christians, or even all members of […]
- The ending is only the beginning June 29, 2015
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has issued its report. The #22days campaign, marking the Anglican Church of Canada’s reception of that report and its commitment to the ongoing work of reconciliation, has come to an end. But, as the campaign says, this ending is only the beginning. We are all called to continue learning, continue listening, continue praying, continue working. As one small part of this work, the Cathedral will post articles and reflections from members of our diocese who have experience with the Commission and with First Nations communities. The first is in the form of a sermon, preached by Lee Greyfeather in the Cathedral on June 7th, 2015. Lee is a Mi’kmaq of the Bear clan and is an active member of the Anglican Diocese of Montreal. He is also a shaman, having completed 32 years of study and training amongst his people. Listen to and/or read Lee’s sermon here.