Archdiocesan Commission for Truth and Reconciliation
We are in a period of history in Canada where relations with Indigenous people has become a priority. Within the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Report there are specific Calls to Action addressed to the churches. In response, one of the initiatives coming from the Archdiocese has been the creation of an ‘Archdiocesan Commission for Truth and Reconciliation’ (ACTR) made up of approximately 12 Indigenous and 12 non-Indigenous people who have met to listen to one another, build relationships and discern together what steps and initiatives the Archdiocese can take in responding to the TRC Calls to Action.
We learned that all engagement responding to the TRC and the pastoral needs of Indigenous people needs to flow from relationship with them, including the survivors of residential schools, intergenerational survivors, and all who have been affected by the legacy of colonialism. The saying that we have heard from some of our Indigenous friends, ‘nothing about us without us’ is shaping our path forward.
ACTR’s foundational principles include: support for and engagement with Indigenous spirituality, culture and language; education about Indigenous Peoples, their history on this land (including the impact of colonization and Indian Residential Schools), and Treaties; dialogue and relationship building; and working together for justice with Indigenous Peoples.
There are 4 circles of activity and engagement wherein the commission strives to strengthen relations, respond to the TRC Calls to Action, and connect pastorally with Indigenous brothers and sisters:
1) in schools and academic institutions;
2) in parishes;
3) through formation for those in leadership (priests, seminarians, diaconal candidates, lay formation candidates); and
4) working with ecumenical and interfaith partners and other agencies in the wider community in the pursuit of justice for Indigenous Peoples.
To learn more or to get involved, contact Sr. RéAnne Letourneau: 306-540-3686.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #60 encourages churches to educate clergy about Indigenous spirituality, the history and legacy of residential schools, and our shared responsibility to build respectful connections with Indigenous families and communities. Engaging with that Call to Action was the inspiration for the decision to set up this program for those in leadership or en route to a leadership role in the church. In 2018 our Archdiocese pioneered a new program for seminarians called “Formation for Indigenous Relations and Ministry.” 8 of our seminarians, along with interested priests, sisters, deacons and laypeople, spent 15 days over a 3-week period connecting with and learning from Indigenous Elders and leaders. In collaboration with the Indigenous community, a rich array of learning activities provided opportunities for friendship and connection between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, as well as help for seminarians as they prepare for parish ministry.
For a full report on this program click HERE
Page URL: http://archregina.sk.ca/indigenous-relations/actr