Truth and Reconciliation
Updated: Nov 24
One of the ways that we feel called to live into our vision, Fullness of Life for Everyone by Practicing the Way of Jesus Together, is by committing to learning about the history of Canada's relationship with Indigenous people so that we can actively and lovingly practice reconciliation as Jesus leads. This last week of September is National Truth & Reconciliation Week culminating in a Day for Truth & Reconciliation on September 30.
The following resources will serve as valuable learning tools for us in the coming months and years. We encourage you to take note of the resources and ask Jesus if he would like you to engage with any.
This dynamic equivalence translation (thought-for-thought) of the New Testament captures the beauty, clarity and simplicity of Indigenous storytelling traditions while remaining faithful to the original language of the New Testament. Just as the NIV and NLT use different cultural idioms to communicate first century truths to us in our language and context, the FNV resonates within the unique Indigenous context.
As a staff, we have been doing our Tuesday morning team devotions with this translation, and have all been profoundly impacted by the opportunity to learn from it and experience the Scripture in new ways.
Consider reading through it yourself (it is available wherever books are sold) — compare and contrast it to the translation you use for study and meditation. What comes alive? What’s more confusing? What’s more clear? We are excited to hear what you learn!
'The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's mandate was to inform all Canadians about what happened in residential schools. The TRC documented the truth of Survivors, their families, communities and anyone personally affected by the residential school experience. This included First Nations, Inuit and Métis former residential school students, their families, communities, the churches, former school employees, government officials and other Canadians.'
The TRC concluded its mandate in 2015 and transferred its records to the safekeeping of National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. The website is a rich resource for finding publications, books, and reports issued during and after the commission's work. Explore the online exhibits! Read about how the TRC got started. Watch videos. The learning opportunities are endless. Send us links to what you have found to be most informative or impactful!
One of the most comprehensive and accessible resources available to the public is a free course offering from the University of Alberta called Indigenous Canada. Many of us missed out on this kind of learning during our early education and experience a disconnect between the history we were taught, and the reality that our children and grandchildren are now wrestling with. This is an excellent way to close the gap so that we can engage in conversations with the same base of understanding. The course is completely free and there are 12 modules of videos that you can view at your leisure to learn all about the fur trade and other exchange relationships, land claims and environmental impacts, legal systems and rights, political conflicts and alliances, Indigenous political activism, and contemporary Indigenous life, art and its expressions. "Indigenous Canada is a 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the Faculty of Native Studies that explores the different histories and contemporary perspectives of Indigenous peoples living in Canada. From an Indigenous perspective, this course explores complex experiences Indigenous peoples face today from a historical and critical perspective highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations." Have you already taken this course? What did you think? Are you enrolled? We'd love to know about your learning journey!
When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission completed its extensive work in 2015, it issued a number of "actionable policy recommendations meant to aid the healing process in two ways: acknowledging the full, horrifying history of the residential schools system, and creating systems to prevent these abuses from ever happening again in the future."
Of the 94 calls to action issued by the TRC, five pertain to church apologies and explicitly invite churches to action. Particularly, the commission calls on churches to: "… develop ongoing education strategies to ensure that their respective congregations learn about their church’s role in colonization, the history and legacy of residential schools, and why apologies to former residential school students, their families, and communities [are] necessary."
Reading through the Calls to Action and then prayerfully discerning how Jesus would ask our local church community to respond on behalf of ourselves and the wider Church in Canada is an excellent early step in the direction of truth and reconciliation.