2016/09/30 TRC Presentation at Diocesan Synod

Reconciliation Presentation at Synod 2016

Greetings Bishop, Chancellor, Diocesan Clergy, Synod Delegates and guests as you gather on Treaty Six Territory

Working toward genuine reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada is a responsibility we all share.  We as the church and society can’t wait for our governments and administrators to make the change.

Reconciliation is defined as the act of causing two people or groups to become friendly again after an argument or disagreement. Friendly again? What do indigenous and non–indigenous need to do to become friendly again?

It starts with striving for understanding and building relationships.  It is the responsibility of every Canadian to understand the injustices committed in their countries name. 

Every citizen, including Anglicans, are on a journey to learn the history and legacy of Canada’s residential schools and acknowledge the racist and colonial policies of cultural genocide and assimilation continue to this day.

The crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in Canada is one example.  A second example is Dr. Cindy Blackstock’s writings, Reconciliation Means Not Saying Sorry Twice: explaining  “The number of First Nations children in care outside their own homes today is three times the number of children in residential schools at the height of operation.”

Chronic underfunding of First nations schools and the cultural biases still underpinning much of the educational curriculum policies are more examples of areas that need change.

So what do I need to know?

That the United Nations declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007 was a framework of reconciliation:

Recognize the urgent need to respect and promote the inherent rights of indigenous peoples which derive from their political, economic and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories, and resources,

That The Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada Call to Action was released June 2015.  And the section Church Apologies and Reconciliation speaks of developing ongoing education strategies to ensure congregations learn about their role in colonization, history, and legacy of residential schools and why apologies are necessary.

Calls that faiths in collaboration with indigenous spiritual leaders, survivors, schools of theology, seminaries are to develop and teach curriculum for all students and all clergy and staff who work in aboriginal communities on the need to respect indigenous spirituality in its own right, the history and legacy of residential schools and the roles of church parties in that system.  Also the history and legacy of religious conflict in aboriginal families and communities and the churches role to mitigate such conflicts.

So what can you and I do?

We all have different God-given strengths, abilities and areas of influence where we can advocate and collaborate locally and provincially, with metis, first nation groups, Elders, Office of the Treaty Commissioner, church groups, municipalities, provincial agencies, education be it in public, catholic education, universities, health, policing, employment, affordable, accessible childcare, affordable housing.

All of us must consider our role in respecting and learning about inherent Aboriginal title and Treaty relationships.

We need to look within ourselves and see what’s in our own heart and our power to do.

Reconciliation is a process of relationship building.

Like the Treaties, it has to be co-created and acted upon to remain relevant and alive.

Our hope lies in learning and unwavering commitment to tolerance, respect, and inclusiveness in our relationships. A simple quote from Justice Sinclair at Station 20 West stays with me – “you take my back and I’ll take yours”

Are you interested in Reconciliation events?

Emails are sent to each church and events are regularly posted on the Diocesan Website. At this moment you will find Elders Teachings being held at the Saskatoon Police Station, the Sister in Spirit 10th annual walk from White Buffalo and the event TRC Calls Churches to Action at St Andrews College.

At the Saskatchewan National Event in 2012, our diocese placed a Prayer in the Bentwood Box as our commitment to work toward reconciliation.  Let us close with the prayer.

 “We pray that this National Truth and Reconciliation Event in Saskatchewan signals a new day, a new opportunity and a new future for both the Anglican and Aboriginal people. We do not know what the future will look like, but in trusting faith, we turn to God our Creator and pray that He will lead us together”

This presentation was given to the Diocesan Synod  by Mary Ann Assailly on September 30, 2016



2016/05/20 - ongoing Read for Reconciliation


2015/12/20 Information about National Inquiry Planning

The call for a public inquiry into the high rate of missing and murdered aboriginal woman is found In the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Call to Action:

41. We call upon the federal government, in consultation with Aboriginal organizations, to appoint a public inquiry into the causes of, and remedies for, the disproportionate victimization of Aboriginal women and girls. The inquirys mandate would include an investigation into missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls and links to the intergenerational legacy of residential schools.
Consultations are being organized  and on invitation Anglican SK TRC representative  and Iskwewuk Ewichiwitochik (Women Walking Together) member Mary Ann Assailly will be attending.

2015/12/19 Truth and Reconciliation Final Report

Commissioners Marie Wilson, Chief Wilton Littlechild and Justice Murray Sinclair ADRIAN WYLD / THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Truth and Reconciliation commission presented its final report this week, and there’s a sense across Indian country that we had reached an important milestone.

Click here to read the Star Phoenix article.


2015/08/19 Speak Truth to Power

‘Speak truth to power,’ primate urges Anglicans

By Anglican Journal staff on August, 18 2015

 Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. Photo: Screen capture from Anglican Video 

 The church’s “absolute and unwavering commitment” to addressing the injustices that Canada’s Indigenous people continue to experience is one of the key elements in achieving meaningful reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada has said. 

“I pray that as a church, we will rise up to this challenge, join hands with Indigenous peoples, walk with you, and with you speak truth to power,” said Archbishop Fred Hiltz in a sermon delivered during the opening eucharist of the 8th national Anglican Indigenous Sacred Circle on August 17. About 160 Indigenous Anglicans across Canada are gathered at the UNIFOR Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ont., for the triennial meeting, August 16-22.  

As he reflected on the day’s readings—“a judgment against Israel, a psalm of penitence and a gospel of invitation to a new way of living”—Hiltz spoke passionately about how both Canada and the church have failed God and Indigenous people. 

“…Like the people of Israel, we have followed other gods: the gods of imperialism, the notion of the superiority of some races over others, the institutionalizing of racism, the enacting of policies of assimilation grounded in nothing less than a resolve in cultural genocide,” said Hiltz. “…Dare I say, we provoked the Lord’s anger in the manner in which in the name of colonialism and the spirit of the doctrine of discovery we suppressed Indigenous [people] across Turtle Island and smothered their languages, culture and spirituality.” 

Hiltz expressed the hope that the church will address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada’s Calls to Action and turn them into priorities in its ministry among and with Indigenous people. “For those who have ears to hear, a conscience to stir and a heart to move, the [TRC] has humbled this nation to confess its sin, and to pray for guidance in walking a new and different way with the First Peoples of this land,” he said. “…If we are true to an abiding commitment to an evolving relationship with one another, the church can do no less, for the love of Jesus compels us.”

The primate also referred to the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples’ (ACIP) call for a change in the church’s governance structures to allow greater self-determination for Indigenous Anglicans.

The proposals—which include the creation of self-determining Indigenous ministries, provisions for urban ministry and Indigenous training and ordination programs, among others—will be discussed at the Sacred Circle. 

“I hear a number of questions about the call, most in the spirit of understanding it and enhancing our capacity to embrace it, as fully as possible through whatever structural changes might emerge in the church,” said Hiltz, noting that initial discussions have taken place at the National House of Bishops and the Council of General Synod (CoGS). 

Hiltz said the call for greater self-determination arises from the crises that Indigenous leaders witness in their communities, mostly as consequences of the Indian residential school system and the lingering effects of colonialism. 

“I am continually sobered by the stark reality that 70% of Indigenous peoples are dependent on social assistance and that one in two Aboriginal children live in poverty,” he noted. “I am continually sobered by the awful reality that more Indigenous peoples are living in slums in the downtown core of large cities than in their own communities.” Canada’s Indigenous people also “represent the highest group of death by accident or violence of any culture in the world,” he added.

The Sacred Circle, Hiltz said, presents an opportunity for healing, reconciliation and a new life. “It’s about renewing commitments to ministry. It’s about the nurturing of a friendship in the spirit of Jesus’ teaching,” he said. “It’s about rebuilding trust, nurturing respect, restoring harmony and looking expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities in this church of ours and in this country.”

The church’s commitments will be manifested in various ways—from engaging political leaders in the federal election campaign, to responding to the TRC’s Calls to Action and in heeding Indigenous Anglicans’ call for greater self-determination within the church.