Gifts symbolize Indigenous relations

Amy Dueckman | B.C. Correspondent
As a sign of honour and respect for the work of Steve Heinrichs, left, Mennonite Church Canada’s director of Indigenous-settler relations, Lorne Brandt, the chair of Mennonite Church B.C.’s Service, Peace and Justice Committee, presents his vest and moccasins, that were made by Cree craftspeople in Manitoba in 1974, to him at a meeting of the regional church’s Indigenous Relations Group. (Photo by Henry Krause)

A vest and moccasins presented to the Mennonite Church Canada director of Indigenous-settler relations symbolized the ongoing work of Indigenous relations in B.C.

During an Oct. 27 meeting of the regional church’s volunteer Indigenous Relations Group, Lorne Brandt, chair of Mennonite Church B.C.’s Service, Peace and Justice Committee, honoured Steve Heinrichs with the gift of a beaded moose-hide vest and high-top moccasins. Brandt had acquired them while working at a federal nursing station at South Indian Lake, Man., in 1974. As these are Cree crafts, Brandt said he believed it was more important for Heinrichs to wear these in Manitoba than for him to keep them in non-Cree territory in B.C. In his presentation, Brandt also specifically mentioned the six valuable book resources Heinrichs had edited, as a reason for the gift., 2018,

In previous years, MC B.C. had a part-time staff person for Indigenous relations work. As of this year, though, a staffer is no longer employed, so the work is continuing under the leadership of a team of interested volunteers.

In an effort to engage more regional church members in the ongoing work, the group arranged a half-day workshop on Oct. 27 at Emmanuel Mennonite Church, which some 30 people from Vancouver to Yarrow attended.

Bridget Findlay of Mennonite Central Committee B.C.’s Aboriginal Neighbours program began by acknowledging the meeting took place on Indigenous territory. A welcome and address by Shirley Hardman of the Stó:lō Nation and University of the Fraser Valley followed. 

As a sign of honour and respect for the work of Steve Heinrichs, left, Mennonite Church Canada’s director of Indigenous-settler relations, Lorne Brandt, the chair of Mennonite Church B.C.’s Service, Peace and Justice Committee, presents his vest and moccasins, that were made by Cree craftspeople in Manitoba in 1974, to him at a meeting of the regional church’s Indigenous Relations Group. (Photo by Henry Krause)

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Thank you for this report from my home congregation. What the report does not include is that some members, including myself, of the congregation raised concerns which were not addressed. So much for inclusive dialogue, or fair reporting.

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