We call upon church parties to the Settlement Agreement 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 were necessary.
Indigenous Watchdog Status Update
|Current Status||June 14, 2021||COMPLETE|
|Previous Status||March 31, 2021||COMPLETE|
Each of the church parties to the Settlement Agreement have made commitments to ongoing education activities within their respective congregations and institutions.
Church Parties Commitment to Ongoing Education Strategies
- Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Canadian Religious Conference
- Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council
- Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace
“Walking Forward Together, the Catholic Response to Call to Action 48 of the TRC (On Adopting and Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples)” recognizes the following recommendations from the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops:
- Continue to work with Catholic educational institutions and programs of formation in learning to tell the history of Canada in a way that is truthful, ensuring proper treatment of the history and experience of Indigenous Peoples, including the experience of oppression and marginalization which resulted from the Indian Act, the Residential School system, and frequent ignoring or undermining of signed treaties and;
- Work with centres of pastoral and clergy formation to promote a culture of encounter by including the study of the history of Canadian missions, with both their weaknesses and strengths, which encompasses the history of the Indian Residential Schools. In doing this, it will be important to be attentive to Indigenous versions of Canadian history, and for these centres to welcome and engage Indigenous teachers in the education of clergy and pastoral workers, assuring that each student has the opportunity to encounter Indigenous cultures as part of their formation and
- Support Bishops and their dioceses and eparchies, as well as superiors of institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life, together with lay Catholic organizations, in deepening and broadening their relationships, dialogue and collaboration with Indigenous Peoples; in developing programs of education on Indigenous experience and culture; and in their efforts to continue to move forward with renewed hope following the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report and its Calls to Action, especially those that address faith communities.
- Encourage Bishops, as well as the superiors of institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life, together with lay Catholic organizations, to invite a greater acquaintance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in their dioceses and eparchies, in their parishes and educational institutions, and in their communities and pastoral work, thus fostering continuing reflection in local contexts on how various aspects of the Declaration can be implemented or supported.
The United Church of Canada
The Healing Fund established in 1994 offers financial support to grassroots projects that focus on healing, language learning, and cultural restoration. Projects must be connected to the continuing need for healing from the legacy of the Indian Residential Schools system Justice and Reconciliation Fund will support projects or events with one or more of the following goals:
- To promote understanding of the United Church’s role in the Indian Residential School system and of the impact of this system on former students and their communities
- To foster direct community-to-community engagement or face-to-face encounters between Indigenous and non-Indigneous peoples in the church and with the larger community
- To assist nation-to-nation events involving church members that support advocacy in solidarity with Indigenous rights
- To fund justice and reconciliation work that supports The United Church of Canada’s commitments to implementing the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The fund has an annual budget of $100,000, and usually does not grant more than $15,000 to any one project. The United Church has developed and animated various educational resources and programs. These materials and an array of worship resources are available on the United Church website, notably current ones pertaining to the 30th anniversary of the 1986 apology. Histories of schools and photos are posted at http://thechildrenremembered.ca. The book Sorry: Why Our Church Apologized is available from Wood Lake Books, and the church promotes and makes wide use of the KAIROS Blanket Exercise.
Anglican Church of Canada, Presbyterian Church in Canada, United Church of Canada, Jesuits of English Canada
“Response of the Churches to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada” states:
As individual churches and in shared interfaith and ecumenical initiatives – for example through Kairos, through interfaith groups, and through the Canadian Council of Churches – we will continue to foster learning about and awareness of the reality and legacy of the residential schools, the negative impact of such past teachings as the Doctrine of Discovery, and the new ways forward found in places, such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We will continue our commitment to financial support for community-controlled initiatives in healing, language and cultural revitalization, education and relationship-building, and self-determination.
Official Federal Government Response: Sept. 5, 2019
The Government of Canada is not the lead on a response for Call to Action 59.