Questions for reflecting on and discussing the feature article, Can we talk? and the sidebar, MCC B.C. ‘refocusses’ Aboriginal Neighbours program, releases staff (Oct. 13, 2014 issue)
1. What have been your experiences in cross-cultural bridge-building with Canada’s indigenous people? What involvement does the church and organizations like Mennonite Central Committee have with indigenous people in your province?
2. Why has the number of Mennonites living and working with indigenous people declined over the years? Will Braun raises questions about the “theological and spiritual foundations of this work.” What do you think motivates the church to work with indigenous relations? What should be the goals? What role does guilt play in this relationship?
3. Braun quotes Brander McDonald, MC B.C.’s indigenous relations coordinator, as saying, “[a]ny engagement beyond dialogue is not a realistic expectation.” Do you agree? Is dialogue enough to justify the financial commitment to indigenous work? Do you agree with MCC B.C.’s decision to decrease support for the work of indigenous relations?
4. Braun says the church should understand the challenges faced by indigenous people and “[o]ur bias should be towards relationship.” How could the church best work at doing this? What should Mennonites be learning from indigenous peoples?
--Posted Oct. 8, 2014