Grounded in the witness of Christ, we stand in solidarity with those affected by mining.

What We Believe

Each part of creation reveals unique aspects of God the Creator,
who is both in creation and beyond it.
All parts of creation, animate and inanimate, are related.
All creation is good.

—from A Song of Faith

Learning from global and Indigenous understandings of the sacredness of the land, we are called to move away from concepts of dominion and ownership of the Earth. We strive to resist that which destroys the health of creation and its communities.

Canada is home to half of the world's mining and exploration companies—every day, rural and remote communities, especially Indigenous communities, are directly affected by their extraction activities. The results often include environmental degradation and other negative social and environmental impacts. And all too often, people are displaced from their lands, and their resistance is met with unlawful force.

United Church partners call us to respond to the grave injustices they face—extrajudicial killings, incarceration, militarization, and intimidation of community leaders opposed to government policy. (For more information about the impacts of Canadian mining companies, particularly in the Philippines, search “Beaconsfield Initiative” on United Church Commons.)

What You Can Do

  • Participate in Open for Justice—a campaign of United Church partner the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA). Join the call for an independent Human Rights Ombudsperson to hold Canadian mining companies responsible for their overseas operations.
  • View KAIROS Canada’s 2011 video Remember the Land (above), featuring global ecumenical voices offering rich theological reflections on mining. Use its study guide to help frame group discussion and plans for action. These resources are available for free download from KAIROS Canada’s website.
  • Connect with United for Mining Justice, a network of United Church people and allies working for just extractive-sector laws and advocating for an accountable Canadian mining industry.
  • Check out the resources under Downloads, below.

Key Terms and Concepts

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)

An international human rights instrument adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007, UNDRIP affirms the inherent collective and individual human rights of Indigenous peoples worldwide and provides a framework for justice and reconciliation. The rights named in the Declaration are

  • the right to self-determination
  • the right to participate in decision-making
  • the right to cultural and spiritual identity
  • the right to lands and resources
  • the right to free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC)
  • the right to be free from discrimination

In March 2016, Moderator Jordan Cantwell announced that the United Church is fully committed to living out UNDRIP, and has begun a prayerful exploration of how the church’s policies, practices, and programs align with it. Canada officially became a full supporter of UNDRIP in May 2016.

Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC)

A key principle of UNDRIP, FPIC refers to the right of Indigenous people to be fully informed participants, free of coercion, in decision-making on issues such as resource development projects on their traditional territories (for example, the Trans Mountain Pipeline). Mohawk activist Kenneth Deer characterizes it as “a means of participating on an equal footing in decisions that affect us.” 

Extractivism

An economic model that exploits the large-scale removal of natural resources for profit, is increasingly being challenged on the ground by Indigenous, grassroots, and popular movements.

The Work of Our Networks and Partners

For more information, contact:

Christie NeufeldtProgram Coordinator, Public Witness416-231-7680 ext. 4078
1-800-268-3781 ext. 4078
cneufeldt [at] united-church.ca

Jim HodgsonProgram Coordinator Caribbean & Latin America Partnership Program416-231-7680 ext. 4013
1-800-268-3781 ext. 4013
jhodgson [at] united-church.ca