Truth, reconciliation, and equity work continues: here’s how
KAIROS’ focus on Indigenous rights continues through 2013 and we invite you to journey with us.
If you’re just starting out, please take a look at our Truth, Reconciliation and Equity photo action. These pictures are an important public witness for all Canadians. The photos are being shared at national events and online.
If you’ve already taken a photo (or even if you haven’t!), consider these next steps:
· Hold a workshop or right relations study. KAIROS and its member churches have many great resources to help you, including the very popular Blanket Exercise and a game show on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Don’t forget to tell us about your event!
· Attend a hearing or event linked to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. These events are an extremely important opportunity to hear stories about the impact of residential schools, and to learn together what steps to reconciliation might look like. All Canadians are encouraged to attend. KAIROS posts these events to our website, and you can also look at www.trc.ca Resources on understanding residential schools and their impact across generations are available for you.
Northern Ontario and Québec are the focus of community hearings in late 2012 and into early 2013. In April, the Québec national event will be held in Montréal. Then the focus shifts to BC for the rest of 2013, and Alberta for 2014.
· Invite local First Nations, Métis or Inuit communities or organizations in your area to talk about their work and how you can support it.
· Meet with your Member of Parliament. In January 2013 KAIROS will be asking people to meet in groups with their MP, with a focus on Indigenous rights nationally and globally. Please watch for more details or get in touch.
Watch for other actions through the year.
Your support for this work is making a difference. Here’s one example: In Saskatchewan throughout 2012, people have organized themselves into ecumenical and interfaith groups to attend all of the roughly 20 TRC community hearings. This past June at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission national event in Saskatoon, Commissioner Wilton Littlechild addressed the thousands of people gathered and noted that for the first time ever, a national TRC event had roughly equal numbers of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people present. He explained that prior to Saskatoon, relatively few non-Indigenous people came to hear the stories that need to be heard and owned by all Canadians. In a moment of extraordinary generosity and compassion, the residential school survivors present rose and applauded their non-Aboriginal neighbours.
We have a long way to go. Many Canadians don’t realize that Indigenous health, community and youth organizations were hit with serious funding cuts in the 2012 federal budget. Globally and nationally, resource extraction operations are taking a heavy toll on Indigenous communities. Relationships that have been broken for over a century will not heal overnight, but without taking these first steps, together, we won’t see change. Whether through KAIROS, your faith community, union or workplace, please be part of that change. And please be in touch!