indigenous relations

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What does ‘sorry’ mean?

During the Sixties Scoop Apology Engagement at Edmonton’s Amiskwaciy Academy on March 1, 2018, survivors were invited to paint their experiences onto canvas for others to see. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld )

During the Sixties Scoop Apology Engagement at Edmonton’s Amiskwaciy Academy on March 1, survivors were invited to paint their experiences onto canvas for others to see. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld )

“Sorry” is a very Canadian expression, but what does it mean?

To the more than 200 Sixties Scoop survivors gathered at the Amiskwaciy Academy in Edmonton on March 1, 2018, the word is problematic. The hearing is the last of six events held across Alberta by the NDP government in an effort to make an upcoming government apology meaningful.

Who is my neighbour?

Screenshot from an episode of CBC Radio’s show “Out in the Open,” which originally aired Jan. 8, 2017. The photo appears on the Farmers with Firearms Facebook page.

Farmers with Firearms are flexing on Facebook. Indigenous activists are indignant. Justin Trudeau is straining to hit all the enlightened notes, as usual. And Murray Sinclair is urging justice reform, again. 

Seeking reconciliation through jubilee

Steve Heinrichs, director of Indigenous-settler relations for Mennonite Church Canada, presents a workshop at Rosthern (Sask.) Mennonite Church entitled ‘Unsettling discipleship: The cost of colonialism, the joy of jubilee.’ (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Steve Heinrichs, left, invites workshop participants to stand on an imaginary spectrum identifying their views on reconciliation, ranging from advocates for land reparation to those advocating education and friendship. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

What does the ancient Levitical concept of jubilee have to do with reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and their settler neighbours? Plenty, according to Steve Heinrichs.

Seeking reconciliation through multicultural art

Art by Ovide Charlette of the Opaskwayak First Nation. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Rosanna Deerchild, host of CBC Radio One's Unreserved, reads a poem from her book Calling Down the Sky. The book tells the story of residential schools in Canada and her own mother's experiences and struggles as a generational survivor. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Bryn Friesen Epp of Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, adds a leaf to a collaboratively decorated tree. Each leaf contains a gallery visitor's hope for reconciliation and commitments to taking part in it. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Clairissa Kelly and Marlene Gallagher organized the Reconciliation Through the Arts exhibition. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Clairissa Kelly, right, her mother Marie, and her Grandmother Lorraine, seated, are pictured in front of 'Granny Lorraine.' Kelly, coordinator of the Peguis Post-Secondary Transition Program at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU), and Rick Unger, a CMU maintenance technician, used acid on metal and etching techniques to create the rusted portrait. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Jochebed Giesbrecht, Laura Carr-Pries and Allegra Friesen Epp stand around Tracy Fehr's installation of clay bowls. Fehr encourages visitors to take a bowl in honour of an important woman in their life and leave a note about the woman in its place. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

A collection of photographs and pieces of abandoned Canadian residential schools. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

A dream catcher by exhibition co-organizer Marlene Gallagher. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Clairissa Kelly smudges the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery in preparation for the exhibition's opening event. (Photo by Ray Dirks)

Clairissa Kelly gives roses to the many different artists involved in the Reconciliation through the Arts exhibition. Over 15 artists were involved in creating the many diverse pieces on display. (Photo by Ray Dirks)

Clairissa Kelly’s daughter, Chloe Mallett, dances for a large audience at the exhibition’s opening event. (Photo by Ray Dirks)

Art by Ojibwe artist Trip Charbs. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Around 200 people gathered at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery on Jan. 26 to celebrate the opening of Reconciliation Through the Arts, an exhibition of Indigenous and settler art that explores the history and present reality of colonization in Canada and different visions of reconciliation.

More thoughts on Future Directions

Photo by Marcello Gambetti from freeimages.com

As I’ve continued to follow the process set in motion by the Future Directions Task Force (FDTF), I’ve come to a different place with my thoughts on this major restructuring of our denominational body, Mennonite Church Canada. It seems clear that, with the exception of Mennonite Church Alberta, the recommendations of the Task Force have been approved to some degree by the area churches, and that the restructuring will most likely go ahead.

We Shall Remain

We Shall Remain is the title of a documentary series by PBS. We watched a few of the episodes while living in Virginia, where we heard very little of indigenous people, culture, or history. Whenever we asked about it, people we talked to said, "oh yeah, there used to be lots of indigenous people in this area" and would point to the main highways running through as ancient trade routes and the name of the valley "Shenandoah" as an indigenous name.

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