Content warning: abuse, trauma, tragic loss of children, genocide
We encourage you to use this prayer in your mediated worship, congregational mailings and across your social media channels.
Dear Friends in Christ,
As we approach the 2021 National Indigenous People’s Day, we offer gratitude to the Creator for the gift of Mother Earth, and to the First Peoples of this land for the wisdom they offer us as we walk together in solidarity with creation and with those who suffer the effects of colonization, racism, ableism, ageism, and sexism in its various guises.
Since the 2020 National Indigenous People’s Day, Turtle Island has witnessed a sobering sequence of injustices, injuries and inequities directly bearing upon First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people. News reels have documented the outrageous treatment of Joyce Echaquan, the ongoing effects of land grabs in Caledonia and beyond, the unconscionable continuance of boil-water advisories across this land, the rampant racism levelled against the Mi’kmaq of Sipekne’katik First Nation for exercising their fishing rights, the ongoing inordinate incarceration of Indigenous people, and the repeated disappearance and death of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. Unfortunately, what has been reported is but the tip of the iceberg of what is experienced.Read more →
On May 4, 2021, the Canadian Council of Churches hosted a panel discussion with Truth and Reconciliation Commissioners, Dr. Marie Wilson, the Honourable Murray Sinclair and Chief Wilton Littlechild. The Commissioners were addressing Bill C-15 which received second reading in the Senate on April 11, 2021. Bill C-15 is an Act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and states that “the Government of Canada must take all measures necessary to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and must prepare and implement an action plan to achieve the objectives of the declaration.”(i) Bill C-15 is now in the pre-study stage with the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples.(ii)
Dr. Marie Wilson, Hon. Murray Sinclair and Chief Wilton Littlechild are asking communities of faith and / or individuals to write to the Senators studying this bill, and to voice support for its passing into law and its implementation. Doing so would help to ensure that Canadian law aligns with the UNDRIP.(iii)
The link to a letter template can be found here:
https://www.faithinthedeclaration.ca/take-action-1, along with instructions for writing and submitting your letter. We encourage individuals, Faith Leaders and congregations to take action as soon as possible.
To watch the panel discussion from May 4th, 2021, please visit:
For more information, please visit the website for Faith in the Declaration (a sub-group of the Canadian Council of Churches):
For Bill C-15 in its entirety, please visit:
And for an opinion piece on Bill C-15, please visit:
Together, let’s make our voices heard so we can continue to live into the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action; that we may also learn what it means to uphold the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and so that as allies we may be part of the movement to put an end to the assimilation and colonization of our Indigenous neighbours.
Peace to you,
Bishop Michael Pryse
The Eastern Synod Circle for Reconciliation and Justice
Many of us are aware of the occupation by Haudenosaunee land defenders at 1492 Land Back Lane at Caledonia, Ontario. People living on or near the Haldimand Tract are encouraged to become informed about the history and the issues. These are complex, but researching this story with care can help us to understand the reasons for the protest and their implications for relationship.
There is a great deal of information online, but a useful beginning is a learning resource with links to some source documents and writings from a variety of views and perspectives, put together in the Fall of 2020 by Steve Heinrichs, Indigenous-Settler Relations director for Mennonite Church Canada. It can be found here.
You are invited to attend the following Zoom event:
What has COVID-19 taught us about the determinants of health for First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and how are we called to respond?
Date: Saturday March 27, 2021
Time: 10:00 – 11:45 am EDT
In this event we explore our call to walk with justice, mercy and humility in our relationships with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.
The event is co-sponsored by the Circle for Reconciliation and Justice of the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the Centre for Public Ethics at Martin Luther University College in Waterloo.Read more →
August 9, 2020 is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, as declared by the United Nations. It also happens to fall on a Sunday this year. For those of you looking for resources to help augment your worship or your online presence in other ways, please see the links below.
Peace and blessings to you as we continue to learn and walk the journey of understanding and reconciliation.