As part of its commitment to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, The United Church of Canada today joins with the broader ecumenical community in announcing a collective intention to implement the principles, norms, and standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples [PDF on un.org] as the framework for reconciliation.

An ecumenical statement was released in Ottawa at 11 a.m., March 30, 2016. Moderator Jordan Cantwell participated in the events with National Anglican Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald; the Rev. Karen Horst, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Canada; the Reverend Susan Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; Manuela Popovici of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers); and Major Shari Russell of the Salvation Army.

Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner Marie Wilson, who received the statement, said:

The response of the church ecumenical community to TRC Call to Action 48 expresses an important understanding by a rich diversity of faith communities, that the nature of abuses experienced by Indigenous children in residential schools in Canada included spiritual abuse. Their response not only recognizes the human rights of Indigenous peoples as expressed in the UN Declaration, including spiritual rights. It also demonstrates the potential of institutions, which have in the past betrayed some of their own stated teachings and values, to face up to such history with courage, and to contribute to strengthening the human rights realities necessary for our country to claim the reputation it so wishes for itself.

You can read the statement under Downloads, below. Video of the press conference will be posted to the KAIROS website soon.

On March 31, the United Church will make its own response to Call to Action #48. The statement will be released beginning at 3:30 p.m. (Eastern), and will be live-streamed on the United Church YouTube channel.

For more information, please contact:

Sara StrattonReconciliation and Indigenous Justice Animator1-800-268-3781 ext. 2742SStratton [at] united-church.ca