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June 20, 2018

In February, members of Keewatin Presbytery — the first Indigenous Presbytery in The United Church of Canada — gathered to say good-bye (see photos). They made the trip to Norway House First Nation, in northern Manitoba, by winter roads, small aircraft, and by the nine-hour drive up windswept Highway 6 from Winnipeg. One vanload did not get there because it hit a moose along the way; the passengers were badly banged and bruised, but not critically injured and...

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June 14, 2018

Indigenous Day of Prayer reminds us that if we are to heal broken relationships, we must talk with one another. Let us begin today and never stop.

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June 13, 2018

In 1971, the observance of June 21 as a National Indian Day of Prayer was formally recognized by The United Church of Canada, at the 24th General Council. In 1982 the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations) called for the creation of a National Aboriginal Solidary Day. Around that time the Sacred Assembly, a national conference chaired by Elijah Harper, also had a similar call for a national holiday to celebrate the contributions of Indigenous Peoples. And the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1995) recommended the designation of a National First Peoples Day....

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May 31, 2018

The Healing Fund directs funding to innovative projects to address the ongoing impacts of the Indian Residential School System for survivors and their descendants. Awakening Indigenous is a program funded by the Healing Fund of the United Church that inspires its participants by teaching self-care and healing through breath work and meditation techniques.

Jenny Morgan, Gitxsan First Nation, and Nathan Zafran, Polish/Jewish ancestry, formed Awakening...

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May 7, 2018

Last fall, Aboriginal Ministries Circle and Indigenous Justice staff dined together in the dark at a Toronto restaurant called O Noir. O Noir draws its inspiration from Blindekuh, a restaurant opened in Zurich by a blind pastor named Jorge Spielmann. The idea is to give sighted diners an experience of what it is like for visually impaired individuals to dine out. And as at Blindekuh, all of O Noir’s wait staff are visually impaired.

This would be a new experience for us. A blind diner, of course, would have many more strategies for independence than we did. But I was excited about...

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March 28, 2018

Kenji Marui travelled to Australia as part of the Moderator’s Dialogue on Reconciliation to consult and build relationship with the Uniting Church in Australia, the Uniting Aboriginal Islander Christian Congress, and Indigenous groups in Australia. He shares some of his experience here. For more perspectives from the Dialogue on Reconciliaiton, see "Practicing Good Relations" and...

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March 27, 2018

On Tuesday, March 14, (Day 2) of the Dialogue on Reconciliation with the Uniting Church in Australia after a day of meetings with the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence and the Uniting Church of Australia Assembly Standing Committee Office of the National Assembly I had the pleasure of listening to Nicky McKay (Berens River, MB) and Samantha (Sam) Miller (Six Nations of the Grand River, ON) as they reflected on the day’s events. The following summarizes their conversation.

The Indigenous crisis in...

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February 12, 2018

The Healing Fund has the privilege of supporting many worthwhile projects focusing on language revitalization, cultural restoration, and healing initiatives in Indigenous communities across Canada. I was excited to visit a project in Toronto by the Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre. Council Fire’s project is called “Naandwidizwin Wechihitita” Healing Ourselves – Helping Each Other and it focuses on the immediate and long-term healing needs of Residential School Survivors...

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February 7, 2018

This reflection is offered by the All My Relations Network of Saskatchewan Conference on their website. AMRN is made up of Indigenous people, newcomers, and settlers of all backgrounds and nations. For over 10 years it has been one expression of the church’s commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its Calls to Action. This...

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March 16, 2018

These are my blessings: seven adopted First Nations children that have chosen me as their mom. Our family has included many children, including White, Asian, transgender, Two Spirit, and more. As a family we choose to celebrate our differences and learn from each other. Sadly, we have seen many who do not share our beliefs that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

I have learned much from my diverse family. From my birth children who chose to share...