Next week, our spring life-long learning series – which focuses on healing and reconciliation with our Indigenous neighbours – begins.
The timing is interesting, as yet more unmarked graves were found at another residential school. Churches, including the Presbyterian Church in Canada, ran these schools for the government as part of a shameful colonialist strategy. The Presbyterian Church in Canada has apologized for its role; you can read more at https://presbyterian.ca/healing/
Our national church is working with our ecumenical partners as we respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, including support for the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Our spring speaker series is our effort to help others in our church and in our community and beyond understand the church’s role in residential schools and how to move forward. We also acknowledge treaties and the agreements made, and we are endeavouring to understand what they mean for us today.
Starting next Wednesday – April 25 – and continuing the fourth Wednesday of May and June, the series brings Indigenous voices to help us understand the legacy and how each one of us can help on the healing and reconciliation journey.
The presentations, which begin at 7 p.m., will also be livestreamed on YouTube and the videos posted to our website and YouTube channel. A free will offering will be collected, a suggested donation of $10.
April 27: The Church’s Involvement in Residential Schools
United Church of Canada Reconciliation and Indigenous Justice Animator Lori Ransom brings insights from her work, which includes a position as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s senior advisor for Church and Interfaith Relations. With a passion for mission, social justice and healing, she also served as Kairos’ delegation to Israel/Palestine in 2019, and in various leadership positions with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and the Aboriginal Education Council of Centennial College.
May 25: The Church and Reconciliation: Looking Forward
Rev. Dr. Margaret Mullin has worked in Indigenous ministries and congregations in the Presbyterian Church in Canada, including 19 years as the executive director of the Winnipeg Inner-City Mission. With her Indigenous name, Thundering Eagle Woman, Rev. Mullin has always thought about what it means to think, see and be with “Two Eyes” in a predominantly Eurocentric society. She currently serves at Place of Hope Presbyterian Church in Winnipeg.
Rev. Linda Patton-Cowie serves at St. Mark’s Presbyterian in Orillia, and she brings experience from being a former convenor of the Healing and Reconciliation Advisory Committee, chaplain for the Healing and Reconciliation Journey and a chaplain of the Rainbow Communion.
Ernestine Baldwin is the Elder Advisor at the Barrie Native Friendship Centre and a Visiting Elder at Georgian College’s Indigenous Resource Centre. She recently received Georgian College’s Award of Excellence for teaching and preserving the Anishnaabemowin language.
June 22: Treaties: We Are All Treaty People
Roger Townshend has practised Aboriginal rights, constitutional and human rights law. He currently litigates land claims and is lead counsel in a matter regarding Aboriginal title in the Great Lakes region. He has provided commentary on a variety of proposed federal and provincial legislation on behalf of Indigenous clients. He is included in The Best Lawyers in Canada and the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory. More info is at www.oktlaw.com/team-members/hw-roger-townshend/
Dan Shaule has studied treaties in Ontario and written and advised on large-scale cases involving land claims and treaty rights. He is an Indigenous Studies professor at Seneca and Durham colleges, and his published works include articles on the Williams Treaties and how to engage Indigenous communities.