You are invited to participate in a historic process of healing and reconciliation – the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). The Commission has been moving across Canada as part of its five year mandate. It will hold a Nation Event in Vancouver from September 18-21, 2013. This event is open to all Canadians. At this event we can: witness the truth and experience of Residential School survivors; support collective healing and reconciliation; work together for a stronger and healthier future for all; and share our stories.
For 150 years, until 1996, generations of Aboriginal children in Canada were taken from their homes, families and communities and sent to residential schools. The government, in partnership with Churches, sought to assimilate Aboriginal people into Canadian society by breaking the bonds between parent and child, between child and their language, and between culture and heritage. The United Church of Canada operated 13 schools in this system, 5 of which were located in BC Conference. (Ahousat, Alberni, Port Simpson, Kitimaat, Coqualeetza ) The cost of this policy has been damage to the body, mind and spirit of countless students, and an ongoing legacy of trauma and community disintegration among former students, their children and grandchildren.
In 1998, The United Church offered an apology for our role in the Indian Residential School system. In that apology we said: “Apologies need to be followed by concrete acts that demonstrate that the church is committed to living in new way in its relations with First Nations peoples.”
Our church is living out its apology in many ways. This includes taking an active role in the TRC process and inviting congregations and individuals to become involved.
The Vancouver Event will actually be a “Week of Reconciliation” beginning on Monday, September 16th. Tuesday, the Squamish Nation will welcome canoes from All Nations at False Creek, and on Wednesday the Truth & Reconciliation Hearings begin. Stories from all aspects of the Residential Schools are welcome. If you are a Survivor, Teacher, or Support Staff you are invited to share your story either in the Public Forum, or Privately. Speakers are asked to register at the TRC website, trc.ca. There is NO REGISTRATION for listeners. There will be a Concert on Thursday night that is open to everyone. On Sunday join the Walk For Reconciliation beginning at the Queen Elizabeth Library. Opening Ceremonies begin at 9am. The walk will make its way to Science World where the New Way Forward Event will Celebrate new possibilities between First Nations and Non-Aboriginal people from Noon to 4pm.
If you are planning to join the walk please register at reconciliationcanada.ca All other events do not require registration. Please find time to take in all or part of the Week of Reconciliation.
Many United Church folk will gather on Sunday, September 22 at St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church for a service of Prayer and Inspiration with our Moderator, at 8am, and then proceed to the Library for the beginning of the Walk For Reconciliation.
If you don’t know how to get started, contact Kathy Hogman (firstname.lastname@example.org),
TRC Educator, BC Conference.