This approximately half-hour video gives a brief overview of The Presbyterian Church in Canada’s role in colonization and residential schools. It is intended as an educational tool to help people understand the ways in which racism and colonial attitudes shaped the church’s mission, with devastating consequences. Beginning with the Doctrine of Discovery and how that doctrine shaped the church’s mission in ways incompatible with the gospel, it looks at some documents and letters speaking about the schools, names the 11 residential schools The Presbyterian Church in Canada operated and the harms they caused, explains how that harm continues today in the form of intergenerational trauma and its effects, and looks at where the church is at today on its path of repentance and reconciliation.

Reflection Questions

  • Was anything you heard new information? If so, why do you think you have not heard it before?
  • If you sit with the material in this video, do you see places in your actions or attitudes that remain shaped by concepts like the Doctrine of Discovery or the colonialism it set in motion? How might you work to challenge that?

Discussion Questions

  • Where do you see the impacts of colonial harm today?
  • Acknowledging that the church was an agent of harm whose mission and ministry with Indigenous peoples emphasized white supremacy, what values and actions can the church, and your congregation in particular, adopt to fight anti-Indigenous racism today?
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