Rev. Alex Wilson
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Friends,

Orange shirt month, started by survivor Phyllis Webstad who attended St Joseph's Mission in BC, is marked every September 30 which was the traditional time that indigenous children were taken away to school. Watch this video clip to hear from Phyllis about the origins of this important date in the journey towards reconciliation in Canada with Indigenous peoples.

Over September, we will mark Orange Shirt Day as we go deeper into our learning and listening to and from indigenous voices about the history of residential schools and their lasting impact on our nation to nation relationships today. 

To do this, we will offer three ways for us to work with reconciliation in our everyday lives by Reading, Watching, and Engaging. I commend any or all of them to you, as they are all designed to be an easy entry into a thought provoking conversation with ourselves, our communities, and God. Enter where you can and join us as we journey together on this lifelong road to reconciliation in this place, no previous experience is required- just a desire to learn and live differently tomorrow, because of yesterday.

Read

"A Knock On the Door: The Essential History of Residential Schools from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Edited and Abridged"

“It can start with a knock on the door one morning. It is the local Indian agent, or the parish priest, or, perhaps, a Mounted Police officer.? So began the school experience of many Indigenous children in Canada for more than a hundred years, and so begins the history of residential schools prepared by the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). Between 2008 and 2015, the TRC provided opportunities for individuals, families, and communities to share their experiences of residential schools and released several reports based on 7000 survivor statements and five million documents from government, churches, and schools, as well as a solid grounding in secondary sources. A Knock on the Door, published in collaboration with the National Research Centre for Truth & Reconciliation, gathers material from the several reports the TRC has produced to present the essential history and legacy of residential schools in a concise and accessible package that includes new materials to help inform and contextualize the journey to reconciliation that Canadians are now embarked upon. Survivor and former National Chief of the Assembly First Nations, Phil Fontaine, provides a Foreword, and an Afterword introduces the holdings and opportunities of the National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation, home to the archive of recordings, and documents collected by the TRC.”

We will gather on zoom September 12 (chapters 1 & 2) & 26 (chapters 3 & 4) to engage with this important and very accessible book. Please support our local booksellers where possible and get the book as soon as you can to leave yourself time to read it before we meet.

Click here to register for the book study zoom link

The zoom invite will say that we are meeting 3 times, but we arent. You're only registering to attend the Sept 12 and 26 event.

Watch

Over the next five weeks we will send out in the weekly email mini doc’s from the national film board which explore and highlight themes of reconciliation and indigeous culture. These though provoking videos are meant to highlight indigenous filmmakers and I highly suggest you check out all the offerings from the National FIlm Board related to Indigenous Cinema. We are blessed by amazing indigenous talent in cinema.

On Orange Shirt Day, we will gather on zoom from 7pm - 9pm for a screening of the 2016 documentary "Nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up."On August 9, 2016, a young Cree man named Colten Boushie died from a gunshot to the back of his head after entering Gerald Stanley’s rural property with his friends. The jury’s subsequent acquittal of Stanley captured international attention, raising questions about racism embedded within Canada’s legal system and propelling Colten’s family to national and international stages in their pursuit of justice. Sensitively directed by Tasha Hubbard, nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up weaves a profound narrative encompassing the filmmaker’s own adoption, the stark history of colonialism on the Prairies, and a vision of a future where Indigenous children can live safely on their homelands.” A conversation will follow the screening.

Click here to register for the Movie Screen zoom Link

Engage

Join canadians from every corner of of this country for this week of national engagement and learning directly from indignous voices. From the program website, each day will “ feature short videos created by Indigenous storytellers, followed by conversations with Elders, Knowledge Keepers, Survivors, and the children of Survivors of residential schools. The videos will be supported with classroom activities for students. Throughout the week we’ll share artistic and cultural performances by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artists. There will also be a moving tribute to the Missing Children that never returned home from the residential schools.

Tentative Program:

  • Day 1 - Land and Treaties
  • Day 2 - Languages and Culture
  • Day 3 - Truth and Reconciliation
  • Day 4 - Orange Shirt Day
  • Day 5 - Elder-Youth Knowledge Transfer.

Some of the program contributors include APTN, the National Film Board, Canada’s History, CBC Manitoba, Wapikoni Mobile, and the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba.

While the program is designed for youth, it is open to people of every age and have been assured that we will find it engaging and informative. The event is free to register for and once registered there will be more specific information available closer to the date as speakers are confirmed.

Click Here to Register for the National Truth and Reconciliation Program

All are welcome, wherever you find yourself on this road to reconcilation.

With every good wish,

Alex+