Thirty-three members of The Presbyterian Church in Canada visited Birdtail Sioux First Nation in Manitoba last weekend to personally apologize for the church’s role in running Birtle Residential School and the dark legacy left behind. The visit is part of the PCC’s Healing and Reconciliation National Tour, which takes place June 12–21. Members from across the country have been travelling to PCC’s Indigenous ministries in Kenora, Winnipeg and Saskatoon, as well as to sites of historical significance in the residential school system.
In an article that appeared in the Brandon Sun and Winnipeg Free Press, journalist Ian Froese explains that the PCC group was taken on a walking tour of Birdtail Sioux First Nation, led by community member Melody Bearbull. “This is the first time they came to our community and said sorry for what they did, the atrocities they did, in the residential school,” Bearbull said. “Therefore, we’re moving forward now, in a healing way.”
[Please see another article that has since appeared in Kenora Daily Miner and News of the group’s visit to Kenora Fellowship Centre and Cecilia Jeffrey memorial as part of the Healing and Reconciliation Tour.]
The Healing and Reconciliation Tour
In 1994, The Presbyterian Church in Canada confessed our role in the tragic legacy of the Indian Residential Schools. We are committed as a denomination to walking alongside our Indigenous brothers and sisters as we work towards reconciliation and live out the spirit of confession. This tour, led by David Phillips, helps participants begin to discover some of the complex issues related to our involvement in residential schools and learn how we have been working to make a difference across Canada.
Click here to read more about this tour and other volunteer mission opportunities. These mission trips are made possible by gifts to Presbyterians Sharing.
Cadence Benn, 3, and her grandmother Glenda Benn, both from Birdtail Sioux First Nation, say thanks to members from The Presbyterian Church in Canada for visiting their community. (Photo: Ian Froese/The Brandon Sun)