Since 2009, when a unanimous motion was passed in the House of Commons, June has been the month set aside for our nation to listen to and honor the rich and amazing history of the first nations, Inuit, and metis peoples. As a church, since an act of General Synod in 2019, we have held June 21 (or the closest Sunday) as a day of prayer for indigenous peoples. This year we will continue to honor this tradition as well as offer some more ways for us to come together and listen to indigenous voices this month. Below are opportunities for you to go deeper in relationship with Indigenous History Month, and want to invite you to join in wherever you are on the journey. If you are very experienced or have had no experience with indigenous peoples and their history- you are welcome- as we explore this together.
When I attended a reconciliation walk, in the spring of 2013, one of the presenters offered words that have stuck with me all these years. This experience you are embarking on is neither a destination to arrive at nor the end of your journey: it is an invitation to the beginning of a life long journey of self discovery on the road to reconciliation. I hold these words dear because they help me stay grounded in an overwhelming and often complicated part of our national and institutional history when I so often don't know how to start this work. Lets start together, here.
This year, National Indigenous History Month is dedicated to the missing children, the families left behind and the survivors of residential schools. The theme of this years history month, set well before horrific news of Kamloops was released, offers us a real time experience of unknowing in how to respond to such incredible grief within the indigenous community. As survivor Eddie Charlie said on the CBC this week "I just want people to sit, hear the story about residential schools, don't try to respond." June is about listening, honoring, and continuing to build equitable relationships with indigenous peoples in this land, a process that will take us into new and exciting places as a country as we grow closer together.
For our families, there is an activity book to help you and your kids express and engage in this work with us.
Join with me, this month, as we continue to listen and honor indigenous voices together.
these lands upon which we worship as the ancestral, cultural, traditional and unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people from time immemorial.