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December 20, 2018

Quebec City, traditional territory of the Wendat people, hosted one of the last hearings of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). This particular hearing focused on the Justice System and Indigenous women. On arrival at the National Inquiry, I was surprised to see a familiar name in the agenda. Presenting for Nishnawbe Aski Police Services was Chair of the Board, Mike Metatawabin and Terry Armstrong, Chief of Nishnawbe Aski Police Services. I knew Mr. Metatawabin because we are from the same community. They spoke about the safety issues that the...

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November 12, 2018

As a child living in my First Nation community, I used to walk to the freshwater stream with my great grandmother to bring water home because we did not have running water. In the wintertime, it was harder to get water because the stream and the community water pipe were frozen. Instead, we would get buckets of snow to melt in our homes.

Now that I live in the city, I can easily access water and I never have to worry about boil water advisories. Boil water advisories are warnings to the whole community not to drink or cook with the water unless boiled over a minute to kill harmful...

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October 15, 2018

Marking “Canada 150” in 2017 was problematic at best—stolen land and hundreds of years of oppression of Indigenous peoples are not reasons for celebration. As much as I want my son to be proud to be Canadian, I also want him to learn about and understand colonization and its impacts.

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September 17, 2018

Orange Shirt Day is an invitation to everyone to wear an orange shirt to show their compassion for the survivors of the Indian Residential Schools and to say that all children matter. Orange Shirt Day began with Phyllis (Jack) Webstad’s story, a Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) woman from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation who went to St. Joseph Mission Residential School. On her first day of school, Phyllis’s grandmother dressed her in an orange shirt. When Phyllis entered the school, she was stripped of her orange shirt and she...

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September 13, 2018

Our first stop in this Conference was to the All Native Circle Conference office where we met with Indigenous leader, Rey Anderson, and Conference staff Cheryl Jourdain. As we gathered around their conference table — the same table the members from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission gathered around in their meetings — we talked and listened to the history and teachings that have come from the office we were visiting.

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July 13, 2018

The wooden prayer cross has been on my desk since a trip to Bethlehem some years ago. The grain of the olive wood is beautiful to the eye, and the cross is shaped to fit perfectly in a hand for a time of prayer or contemplation.

When a team of colleagues from our office signed up as a relay team in the Mississauga Marathon in May, we received the following instruction:
Teams are encouraged to select a team “baton” to represent their cause or...

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July 31, 2018

Have you ever heard of the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Call to Action #82? Call to Action #82 challenges every province and territory to commission and install a “publicly accessible, highly visible, Residential School National Monument” in every capital city. The monuments are “to honour Residential School Survivors and all the children who were lost to their families and communities.” 

Rising to the challenge, Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre, the City of Toronto, and the Ontario Government collaborated to create ...

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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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July 9, 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....