In 1994, The Presbyterian Church in Canada adopted the Confession to God and to Aboriginal people for its role in the Indian Residential School System. The church is committed to walking with Indigenous people on a journey toward reconciliation and living out the spirit of its Confession.
The Healing and Reconciliation Program was established by General Assembly in 2006 to assist The Presbyterian Church in Canada in restoring right relations with Indigenous people. The program provides resources to raise awareness among Presbyterians about the impact of colonialism on Indigenous people and supports initiatives that build relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
Staff in Justice Ministries and members of the Healing and Reconciliation Advisory Committee work with Presbyterians at all levels of the church to foster leaders committed to promoting reconciliation efforts in their congregations and in their communities. The church works with ecumenical partners in responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action including support for the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action
Reconciliation Activites for Children
This new resource was created in response to requests for activities that help children better understand the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada and how they can be part of the reconciliation journey.
The activities are appropriate for children five to eight years of age. They can be adapted for older groups and may be used with Vacation Bible School programs, Sunday schools, youth groups, mid-week programs and even at home by families. This resource has been written with the intention that Indigenous and non-Indigenous children will both find the activities meaningful.
Print copies are available for $5.00. To order, use the online order form under “Justice,” or contact Parasource Distribution at 1-800-263-2664 (product code 1707080401).
Please let us know what you think of this resource and how it can be improved. Please take a few moments to complete the online feedback form.
A new timeline poster outlines the historical relationship between The Presbyterian Church in Canada and Indigenous people of our country. This horizontal poster measures 9” x 39”.
The timeline is from 1866 to 2017, beginning with James Nisbet, the first Presbyterian missionary with Indigenous people in Canada who establishes the mission near what is today Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Milestone dates are portrayed with photographs from the PCC Archives and of special events that have taken place through the decades. Political milestones are also marked that are significant to the building of our relationship, such as when the Canadian Multiculturalism Act was passed in 1988, that set out to recognize and protect the cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of Canada, including the recognition of Aboriginal rights.
Order your free poster today via the online order form (under Justice Ministries), or call Parasource directly at 1-800-263-2664 (product code 1705071701).
Acknowledging Traditional Territory
A guide to assist congregations and courts of the church to incorporate an acknowledgment of traditional Indigenous territory into worship, meetings and other gatherings.
The Blanket Exercise
The KAIROS Blanket Exercise explores the nation-to-nation relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada. Blankets arranged on the floor represent the land. Participants begin to see the impact that colonization and loss of land has had on Indigenous people as the blankets are folded up and removed. The activity invites participants to consider how to begin to heal broken relationships and what their next steps toward reconciliation will be.
Healing & Reconciliation E-Newsletter
Ideas for Youth
Here are some ideas for ways to encourage the youth in your congregation to get involved healing and reconciliation:
- Start small. Introduce them to the concept of acknowledging traditional territories at church events.
- Lead them in the Blanket Exercise or—better still—invite them to help you lead the Blanket Exercise in your congregation!
- Share the Healing & Reconciliation e-newsletter with them
- Invite Carragh Erhardt, Healing and Reconciliation Program Assistant, to meet your youth group in person or over Skype.
Liturgical resources, including suggested orders of service, sermon illustrations, church school activities, bible study, and prayers are available in two liturgical resources.
- A Time for Hope (2016) and Accompanying Slides
- We are One in the Spirit (2010)
- Healing & Reconciliation Liturgical Kit (2007)
The Healing & Reconciliation program offers funding up to $5,000 for Presbyterians wishing to build relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. You may wish to invite an Indigenous Elder to speak with a small group or organize a trip to a local Native Friendship Centre.
Click the link below to read about relationship building initiatives:
Healing & Reconciliation Seed Fund
The Healing & Reconciliation program offers funding up to $5,000 for Presbyterians wishing to build relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. The Seed Fund Application deadline is Friday, March 17, 2017.
Please remember that funding is available to support a large range of projects:
- Small fellowship gatherings are very powerful means to begin forming relationships, and are therefore highly recommended.
- Groups who already have some connections with Aboriginal people or communities, or groups who are keen to begin with something on larger scale, may be draw to one of the more ambitious ideas listed below.
You may wish to:
- Invite an Aboriginal speaker or Aboriginal Elder to talk to members of your group, including youth groups, on any topic of interest such as Aboriginal history, culture, or modern day concerns. You may wish to have a discussion about the needs of your community with a local Aboriginal leader of a community group or service organization.
- If no potential speakers are known to your group, a local Native Friendship Centre, Native Women’s organization, or post-secondary campus Aboriginal association may be of assistance. If you are near a First Nation community, you may wish to try contacting a First Nation Band Administrator or, if available, a First Nation Education or Cultural Officer for assistance. A teacher from a First Nation school or an Aboriginal university professor or lecturer may work in or near your community and be available to speak or lead a workshop.
- Have an informal social or recreational gathering and invite representatives of a local Native Friendship Centre, Native Women’s organization, local First Nation or Métis community, or other Aboriginal group to join you. This includes sports or cultural activities for adults or youth groups.
- Talk to an Aboriginal service group in your community. Perhaps there is a joint project members of your group and the Aboriginal group can work on together, providing an opportunity for you to get to know each other better in the process. Funds could buy some supplies to assist with completing the project, and/or provide some refreshments while you work together to complete the project.
- Arrange a visit to a local Aboriginal community to learn about your neighbours first hand. This could include talking with leaders in the community (i.e. political, social, cultural, or educational leaders), taking a tour, and/or attending a pow wow or other cultural event or spiritual ceremony accompanied by Aboriginal people. Funds could be used to support modest travel costs. Remember that funding is designed to support relationship building, so it is important that any Aboriginal community visited be close enough geographically that relationships may be maintained and developed in the future between your group and the community.
- Work with a group of local churches to organize a workshop or even a conference.
- Funds could be used to pay a portion of event costs: venue rental (if necessary), food, honoraria for speakers/workshop leaders. Emphasis should be on building bridges at the local level.
Put your imagination to work to come up with something that’s just right for you and your group!
Why Truth and Reconciliation Matters to Presbyterians
In 1994, The Presbyterian Church in Canada confessed its role in the tragic legacy of the Indian residential schools. The church is committed to walking with Indigenous people on a journey toward reconciliation, and living out the spirit of the confession. This video contains messages from Presbyterians from across Canada about why truth and reconciliation is important to them.