MCBC Mennonite Church British Columbia Fri, 21 Jul 2017 21:54:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 One mouth – no more “mennosplaining” please. An Indigenous rebuke. Fri, 21 Jul 2017 21:17:53 +0000 I know in my work with Mennonite Church Canada within BC that there are those that carry themselves with dignity and grace when it comes to the journeying towards and understanding of Indigenous peoples. Some good good people.

But then there are those that it make painfully obvious, by their ill informed and unsophisticated comments, that we have barely begun. That in fact the needle on the thermometer of reconciliation gets reset everytime hurtful and false assumptions get thrown into the mix. Then the talk of reconciliation gets anihilated all over again. The question arises as to whether there will ever be any traction to the work of relationship reconciliation in the Mennonite and Indigenous relations ministries with these kind of vitriol remarks. Sometimes i physically cringe  and “urk” deep in my spirit. That old dog called racism and bigotry raises its ugly head. Its not pretty and there is no way of “churching it up” at that point. No way of pretending it will go away. Or avoiding its reality.

I ponder on whether to excuse it off (passive aggressively) or face it full on (like the “angry indian” that i have been blamed for being). Sitting on the fence is no help either. So take this as being warned about what i write next.

So in my conversations last week there were those commenting on various social media the old false adage that “native people on reserves in the north do not contribute to society in Canada. That all they do is live off our (non-indigenous – including Metis) taxes. That we are the one’s that are supporting them. Why don’t they just get jobs and contribute?”

This underlines that there is a huge misconception about both Indigenous rights and also as to what moneys are set aside and used for native communities. Most people do not know that both the Indian Act and the department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development are in charge of everything that goes on in Indigenous reserves. In fact it puts native people in the same position as wards of the state.

Here are two links to help you begin to wade through these issues.–JfYAbaznxLgO7sCI1DoI&pnref=story

Idle No More: About That FN Trust

Speaking as an Status Indigenous Cree, i have worked and lived in various native communities.

The basics are these:

  1. As a Satus Indian under the “Indian Act” and only if you live off reserve you pay taxes just like every Canadian. If you work and live on reserve and have your Indian Registered Status then you are eligible to be tax exempt. (As and aside it is part of Canada’s Treaty settlement to have access to those very same lands. Its a form of “rent” for the privilege to come and “do business” on our native lands.) That is a choice. Some still pay taxes. We do not get free everything paid all by the government.  But in no way do your none Indigenous “Canadian” taxes pay for Indigneous peoples on the reserve. In actual fact the government uses very portional monies from a Trust they are responsible for, as part of what is owed as “rent” of native lands and resources. This is actual monies the government owes to Indigenous bands both in Treaty and Unseded Aboriginal Territories. This is their own federal documentation. The amount of monies that makes it to bands from this fund is a drop in the bucket of the trillions of dollars owed to bands collective by the federal government.
  2. Secondly, Aboriginal Title is the foundational structure with other “government” title that sits on top of it. Aboriginal title is the base title which is protected under the Constitution and the recognize by the Supreme Court of Canada. This reality is for both Treaty and Unseded/Unsurrendered (ie: British Columbia) Aboriginal bands and territories. So who is the rightful “owners” of the land is still the first occupants – Indigenous peoples as recognized as well within the Supreme Court of Canada and also the Constitution. What is owed as rent on that arrangment is the “trust fund” that is mentioned in the link above. The late Arthur Manuel describes plainly regarding Aboriginal title.

So we as Indigenous people DO PAY TAXES if we live off and work off the reserve. We do hold title to the land Treatied and Unseded/Unsurrendered land.

Its in Canadian law and also in its Constitutionally protected rights.

Now back to the first argument that northern reserves are “freeloaders”. The fact is that everything is meted out to native bands at an minute amount financially with rediculous amount of oversight by federal governments and that the trillions of dollars owed to Indigenous reserves is never seen. Not your tax dollars. The misinformation that billions of your tax dollars is being spent in native communities, some naysayers would say wasted, is nothing but lies by governments to divert the reality that Indigenous communities are not being treated as “nation to nation” at all with regard to payments due First Nations communities. I know. I worked and lived in these same areas. My parents worked and live in these same communities. My own younger brother is an Economic Development, Aboriginal Rights and Title and Treaty lawyer representing Indigenous interests all over the country for the past 30 years. So its is from first hand experience that i speak.

When naysayers call out native people, what it boils down to is a lack of sophisticated thinking. It lacks knowing the vast information about the realities of native existence and the relationships to governments, finances, treaties, sovereignty, resources, development and education and so on.

I will say this. Before people open their mouths about the “problem” of native peoples they should ask themselves these things; 1. do i live on reserve?, 2. do i know the Indian Act?, 3. am i a status Indigenous person living in a northern native community?, 4. do i live under the Indian Act system? 5. do i have law degree in Aboriginal Rights and Title with a life time of experience? 6. Do i know the federal Indigenous Sovereignty issues within Canada? If not you need to keep your mouth closed. Its not helping the cause for reconciliation. Otherwise, it sounds like you think again that “native people are lazy”, “they need to contribute”, “you need to get over it and move on”, and that “reconciliation is not for me”.

It shows bigotry, racism, prejudice, reductionistic and naive thinking; uneducated and very painful. In fact it is the type of violence that Mennonite Church Canada preaches strongly against. This is not the way of peace building.

I remember a native elder saying we have two eyes to watch, two ears to listen, two arms to help, two hands to hold, two legs to walk and only one mouth to speak – the mouth is the least important. To listen is the greatest gift and duty. Secondly, a chief once told me “i cannot ask you to join me in relationship of ceremony or teachings because i do not know well enough yet”. Think of that as we were both from different Indigenous territories and bands. Think of the trust i had to earn. Now think of the trust you have to earn as a none-Indigenous person.

Spouting off what you do not know anything about, but only heard in gossip circles or some negatively sensationalized media outlet, will not help you win friends in reconciliation with Indigenous people. In fact, its this very attitude and venom that kills relationship. It kills conversations that we need to reconcile. My fear is that you know well of this kind of intention and really do not want this kind of conversation or dialogue about relationship reconciliation.

Let us talk and walk out a better hope of reconciliation. Stay informed. Ask questions, be a life long learner and never assume you know all there is to know about Indigenous issues in Canada. Even i as a senior native man still have to take the stance of a life long learner in this process. I still have to keep silent at times. I still have to carry myself with respect for relationship building within my own culture. Imagine the protocol you have to carry as none Indigenous people? That is my challenge to you?

But please; no more whitesplaining. No more “mennosplaining” either.


brander mcdonald – Pequis Cree First Nations

Indigenous Relations Coordinator – Mennonite Church of British Columbia/Mennonite ChurchCanada

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MC Canada’s ongoing commitment to Indigenous Relations PDF Thu, 20 Jul 2017 18:32:05 +0000


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Read article in preparation for Anti-racism training – Fall 2017 Mon, 17 Jul 2017 20:45:43 +0000 In preparation for the Anti-racism training coming up in the fall, i came across this article that i thought would provoke us to conversations within the MCBC community and give us pause to wonder how this also affects us as a conference, regarding Indigenous and Mennonite conversations and relationship development, reconciliation and healing.

My purpose for posting this article below is not to ask if you agree or disagree with this article but to let you know that we still have to address the issue of racism within our church – indigenous conversation locally, conference and nationally. We need to peel back the onion even deeper in our work, walk and talk of reconciliation.

This is one step of many. It is a spectrum – continuum that is multi faceted and difficult at times.

There are also stories of success and reconciliation.

Yet we still need to have this conversation. My hopes is the anti racism conversation can help both MCBC and Indigenous relationships finally begin to take root, and be nourished to grow. Miigwetch, Thank You, Brander

Here is the article below:

I am Mennonite, and we are Racist



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TRC 94 Calls to Action PDF Sat, 15 Jul 2017 15:48:07 +0000

From Kairos Canada:

Churches’ response to Call to Action #48

When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its 94 Calls to Action in June of 2015, only one Call had a specific deadline.  Call to Action 48 set the particular date of March 31, 2016 for church, faith and inter-faith groups to issue a statement as to their implementation of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

The full text of the Call reads as follows:

We call upon the church parties to the Settlement Agreement, and all other faith groups and interfaith social justice groups in Canada who have not already done so, to formally adopt and comply with the principles, norms, and standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation. This would include, but not be limited to, the following commitments:

i. Ensuring that their institutions, policies, programs, and practices comply with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

ii. Respecting Indigenous peoples’ right to self determination in spiritual matters, including the right to practise, develop, and teach their own spiritual and religious traditions, customs, and ceremonies, consistent with Article 12:1 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

iii. Engaging in ongoing public dialogue and actions to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

iv. Issuing a statement no later than March 31, 2016, from all religious denominations and faith groups, as to how they will implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Churches and faith groups are responding to this challenge in different ways, with statements by their specific community, and through ecumenical statements.  These responses to TRC 48 share some common commitments, while also expressing the diversity of experiences with the UN Declaration of the different communities.

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Canada releases 10 “principles” on government’s relationship with Indigenous peoples Sat, 15 Jul 2017 15:41:25 +0000
APTN National News

The Government of Canada has released ten principles it says will help in achieving reconciliation with Indigenous peoples through a “renewed, nation to nation, government to government, and Inuit-Crown relationship based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership.”

The principles were posted on the department of Justice website Friday.

“Section 35 contains a full box of rights, and holds the promise that Indigenous nations will become partners in Confederation on the basis of a fair and just reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and the Crown.”

The website post also seems to affirm Canada’s commitment to adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – a stand many thought Canada was backing away from after Justice Minister’s speech to the Assembly of First Nations in July 2016.

“Simplistic approaches such as adopting the United Nations declaration as being Canadian law are unworkable and, respectfully, a political distraction to undertaking the hard work actually required to implement it back home in communities,” said Wilson-Raybould in the speech.

In the statement Friday that was released along with the list, Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and Chair of the Working Group of Ministers on the Review of Laws and Policies, said the principles will guide the government in all its work and laws.

“The Principles will guide the review of laws, policies and operational practices and form a foundation for transforming how the federal government partners with and supports Indigenous peoples and governments.”

The list of principles suggest the government is working towards implementing UNDRIP through a review of its current laws.

Here are the ten principles:

1. The Government of Canada recognizes that all relations with Indigenous peoples need to be based on the recognition and implementation of their right to self-determination, including the inherent right of self-government.

This opening Principle affirms the priority of recognition in renewed nation-to-nation, government-to-government, and Inuit-Crown relationships. As set out by the courts, an Indigenous nation or rights-holding group is a group of Indigenous people sharing critical features such as language, customs, traditions, and historical experience at key moments in time like first contact, assertion of Crown sovereignty, or effective control. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples estimated that there are between 60 and 80 historical nations in Canada. The Government of Canada’s recognition of the ongoing presence and inherent rights of Indigenous peoples as a defining feature of Canada is grounded in the promise of section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, in addition to reflecting articles 3 and 4 of the UN Declaration.

The promise mandates the reconciliation of the prior existence of Indigenous peoples and the assertion of Crown sovereignty, as well as the fulfilment of historic treaty relationships. This principle reflects the UN Declaration’s call to respect and promote the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples. This includes the rights that derive from their political, economic, and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories, laws, and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories and resources. Canada’s constitutional and legal order recognizes the reality that Indigenous peoples’ ancestors owned and governed the lands which now constitute Canada prior to the Crown’s assertion of sovereignty. All of Canada’s relationships with Indigenous peoples are based on recognition of this fact and supported by the recognition of Indigenous title and rights, as well as the negotiation and implementation of pre-Confederation, historic, and modern treaties.

It is the mutual responsibility of all governments to shift their relationships and arrangements with Indigenous peoples so that they are based on recognition and respect for the right to self-determination, including the inherent right of self-government for Indigenous nations. For the federal government, this responsibility includes changes in the operating practices and processes of the federal government. For Indigenous peoples, this responsibility includes how they define and govern themselves as nations and governments and the parameters of their relationships with other orders of government.

2. The Government of Canada recognizes that reconciliation is a fundamental purpose of section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Reconciliation is an ongoing process through which Indigenous peoples and the Crown work cooperatively to establish and maintain a mutually respectful framework for living together, with a view to fostering strong, healthy, and sustainable Indigenous nations within a strong Canada. As we build a new future, reconciliation requires recognition of rights and that we all acknowledge the wrongs of the past, know our true history, and work together to implement Indigenous rights.

This transformative process involves reconciling the pre-existence of Indigenous peoples and their rights and the assertion of sovereignty of the Crown, including inherent rights, title, and jurisdiction. Reconciliation, based on recognition, will require hard work, changes in perspectives and actions, and compromise and good faith, by all.

Reconciliation frames the Crown’s actions in relation to Aboriginal and treaty rights and informs the Crown’s broader relationship with Indigenous peoples. The Government of Canada’s approach to reconciliation is guided by the UN Declaration, the TRCs Calls to Action, constitutional values, and collaboration with Indigenous peoples as well as provincial and territorial governments.

3. The Government of Canada recognizes that the honour of the Crown guides the conduct of the Crown in all of its dealings with Indigenous peoples.

The Government of Canada recognizes that it must uphold the honour of the Crown, which requires the federal government and its departments, agencies, and officials to act with honour, integrity, good faith, and fairness in all of its dealings with Indigenous peoples. The honour of the Crown gives rise to different legal duties in different circumstances, including fiduciary obligations and diligence. The overarching aim is to ensure that Indigenous peoples are treated with respect and as full partners in Confederation.

4. The Government of Canada recognizes that Indigenous self-government is part of Canada’s evolving system of cooperative federalism and distinct orders of government.

This Principle affirms the inherent right of self-government as an existing Aboriginal right within section 35. Recognition of the inherent jurisdiction and legal orders of Indigenous nations is therefore the starting point of discussions aimed at interactions between federal, provincial, territorial, and Indigenous jurisdictions and laws.

As informed by the UN Declaration, Indigenous peoples have a unique connection to and constitutionally protected interest in their lands, including decision-making, governance, jurisdiction, legal traditions, and fiscal relations associated with those lands.

Nation-to-nation, government-to-government, and Inuit-Crown relationships, including treaty relationships, therefore include: (a) developing mechanisms and designing processes which recognize that Indigenous peoples are foundational to Canada’s constitutional framework; (b) involving Indigenous peoples in the effective decision-making and governance of our shared home; (c) putting in place effective mechanisms to support the transition away from colonial systems of administration and governance, including, where it currently applies, governance and administration under the Indian Act; and (d) ensuring, based on recognition of rights, the space for the operation of Indigenous jurisdictions and laws.

5. The Government of Canada recognizes that treaties, agreements, and other constructive arrangements between Indigenous peoples and the Crown have been and are intended to be acts of reconciliation based on mutual recognition and respect.

This Principle recognizes that Indigenous peoples have diverse interests and aspirations and that reconciliation can be achieved in different ways with different nations, groups, and communities.

This principle honours historic treaties as frameworks for living together, including the modern expression of these relationships. In accordance with the Royal Proclamation of 1763, many Indigenous nations and the Crown historically relied on treaties for mutual recognition and respect to frame their relationships. Across much of Canada, the treaty relationship between the Indigenous nations and Crown is a foundation for ongoing cooperation and partnership with Indigenous peoples.

The Government of Canada recognizes the role that treaty-making has played in building Canada and the contemporary importance of treaties, both historic and those negotiated after 1973, as foundations for ongoing efforts at reconciliation. The spirit and intent of both Indigenous and Crown parties to treaties, as reflected in oral and written histories, must inform constructive partnerships, based on the recognition of rights, that support full and timely treaty implementation.

In accordance with section 35, all Indigenous peoples in Canada should have the choice and opportunity to enter into treaties, agreements, and other constructive arrangements with the Crown as acts of reconciliation that form the foundation for ongoing relations. The Government of Canada prefers no one mechanism of reconciliation to another. It is prepared to enter into innovative and flexible arrangements with Indigenous peoples that will ensure that the relationship accords with the aspirations, needs, and circumstances of the Indigenous-Crown relationship. The Government also acknowledges that the existence of Indigenous rights is not dependent on an agreement and, where agreements are formed, they should be based on the recognition and implementation of rights and not their extinguishment, modification, or surrender.

Accordingly, this Principle recognizes and affirms the importance that Indigenous peoples determine and develop their own priorities and strategies for organization and advancement. The Government of Canada recognizes Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination, including the right to freely pursue their economic, political, social, and cultural development.

6. The Government of Canada recognizes that meaningful engagement with Indigenous peoples aims to secure their free, prior, and informed consent when Canada proposes to take actions which impact them and their rights, including their lands, territories and resources.

This Principle acknowledges the Government of Canada’s commitment to new nation-to-nation, government-to-government, and Inuit-Crown relationships that builds on and goes beyond the legal duty to consult. In delivering on this commitment, the Government recognizes the right of Indigenous peoples to participate in decision-making in matters that affect their rights through their own representative institutions and the need to consult and cooperate in good faith with the aim of securing their free, prior, and informed consent.

The Supreme Court of Canada has clarified that the standard to secure consent of Indigenous peoples is strongest in the case of Aboriginal title lands. The Supreme Court of Canada has confirmed that Aboriginal title gives the holder the right to use, control, and manage the land and the right to the economic benefits of the land and its resources. The Indigenous nation, as proper title holder, decides how to use and manage its lands for both traditional activities and modern purposes, subject to the limit that the land cannot be developed in a way that would deprive future generations of the benefit of the land.

The importance of free, prior, and informed consent, as identified in the UN Declaration, extends beyond title lands. To this end, the Government of Canada will look for opportunities to build processes and approaches aimed at securing consent, as well as creative and innovative mechanisms that will help build deeper collaboration, consensus, and new ways of working together. It will ensure that Indigenous peoples and their governments have a role in public decision-making as part of Canada’s constitutional framework and ensure that Indigenous rights, interests, and aspirations are recognized in decision-making.

7. The Government of Canada recognizes that respecting and implementing rights is essential and that any infringement of section 35 rights must by law meet a high threshold of justification which includes Indigenous perspectives and satisfies the Crown’s fiduciary obligations.

This Principle reaffirms the central importance of working in partnership to recognize and implement rights and, as such, that any infringement of Aboriginal or treaty rights requires justification in accordance with the highest standards established by the Canadian courts and must be attained in a manner consistent with the honour of the Crown and the objective of reconciliation.

This requirement flows from Canada’s constitutional arrangements. Meaningful engagement with Indigenous peoples is therefore mandated whenever the Government may seek to infringe a section 35 right.

8. The Government of Canada recognizes that reconciliation and self-government require a renewed fiscal relationship, developed in collaboration with Indigenous nations, that promotes a mutually supportive climate for economic partnership and resource development.

The Government of Canada recognizes that the rights, interests, perspectives, and governance role of Indigenous peoples are central to securing a new fiscal relationship. It also recognizes the importance of strong Indigenous governments in achieving political, social, economic, and cultural development and improved quality of life.

This Principle recognizes that a renewed economic and fiscal relationship must ensure that Indigenous nations have the fiscal capacity, as well as access to land and resources, in order to govern effectively and to provide programs and services to those for whom they are responsible.

The renewed fiscal relationship will also enable Indigenous peoples to have fair and ongoing access to their lands, territories, and resources to support their traditional economies and to share in the wealth generated from those lands and resources as part of the broader Canadian economy.

A fairer fiscal relationship with Indigenous nations can be achieved through a number of mechanisms such as new tax arrangements, new approaches to calculating fiscal transfers, and the negotiation of resource revenue sharing agreements.

9. The Government of Canada recognizes that reconciliation is an ongoing process that occurs in the context of evolving Indigenous-Crown relationships.

This Principle recognizes that reconciliation processes, including processes for negotiation and implementation of treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements, will need to be innovative and flexible and build over time in the context of evolving Indigenous-Crown relationships. These relationships are to be guided by the recognition and implementation of rights.

Treaties, agreements, and other constructive arrangements should be capable of evolution over time. Moreover, they should provide predictability for the future as to how provisions may be changed or implemented and in what circumstances. Canada is open to flexibility, innovation, and diversity in the nature, form, and content of agreements and arrangements.

The Government of Canada also recognizes that it has an active role and responsibility in ensuring the cultural survival of Indigenous peoples as well as in protecting Aboriginal and treaty rights.

The Government of Canada will continue to collaborate with Indigenous peoples on changes to federal laws, regulations, and policies to realize the unfulfilled constitutional promise of s.35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

10. The Government of Canada recognizes that a distinctions-based approach is needed to ensure that the unique rights, interests and circumstances of the First Nations, the Métis Nation and Inuit are acknowledged, affirmed, and implemented.

The Government of Canada recognizes First Nations, the Métis Nation, and Inuit as the Indigenous peoples of Canada, consisting of distinct, rights-bearing communities with their own histories, including with the Crown. The work of forming renewed relationships based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership must reflect the unique interests, priorities and circumstances of each People.


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WITNESS BLANKET Exhibit @ UFV SEPT- NOV 2017 Fri, 14 Jul 2017 16:18:33 +0000 WitnessBlanket-bg

Dear MCBC,

The “WITNESS BLANKET” (  ) is coming to University of Fraser Valley this fall September to November.  The Blanket will be hosted in the NEW Student Union Building in Evered Hall.  ( Building S on this map: ) Plans have been made to open the exhibit to churches on Sundays in October from 1-3pm.


Please contact: Shirley Swelchalot Hardman Senior Advisor on Indigenous Affairs, UFV

It is appreciated if large groups let UFV know when they are coming, only so that they can be alerted if other large groups plan to attend at the same time.  The space and exhibition are designed in a way that will accommodate all visitors.

Please contact: Shirley Hardman Senior Advisor of Aboriginal Affairs UFV

It is appreciated if large groups let UFV know when they are coming, only so that they can be alerted if other large groups plan to attend at the same time.  The space and exhibition are designed in a way that will accommodate all visitors.!/inspiration/



Brander McDonald

Indigenous Relations Coordinator

Mennonite Church of BC

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Urban Native Youth/Coming Home Society needs your support. Thu, 13 Jul 2017 15:55:34 +0000 UNYA CHS Community Wellness Workshop – POSTER FINAL

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AUGUST 6th INDIGENOUS CALL DAY OF PRAYER Tue, 11 Jul 2017 17:33:49 +0000  




Every Prayer Matters


The Prayer will begin at 9 am on the East Coast,

and follow the path of the sun across the country, East to West.

The tone of the national conversation has become harsh and divisive. It is only through Spirit that we can come together as human beings and work together to bridge our differences and create positive solutions. The power of spirit will unite, not only First Nations, but everyone on Turtle Island.


– Turtle Lodge Elder Dave Courchene

Why a National Day of Prayer and Mindfulness?


As the Elders and Knowledge Keepers of our First Nations, we have always relied on the Spirit to guide us toward a peaceful, harmonious life, and a close and sacred relationship with the land.  As First Peoples of this country, we invite all citizens to come together for a National Day of Prayer and Mindfulness on August 6, to help us find resolve to some of the most pressing issues of our times.


We call on all our brothers and sisters in this country, people of all colours, faiths and gender, to begin their moment of prayer, ceremony or mindfulness on August 6 at 9 am local time wherever you are. Thus the prayer will follow the path of the sun across Canada, traveling from East to West, beginning first at 9 am on the East Coast.


In today’s reality, we struggle with a loss of humanity.  We face so much violence and misunderstanding.  Over 2.9 million youth in this country are in a state of depression.  Many contemplate suicide.  Addiction has become a national issue.  As the First Peoples we continue to find ourselves marginalized and in poverty. The world faces a nuclear showdown. Climate change is a critical issue, reflecting a loss of relationship with the Earth, which provides our home and everything we need to live.


The beginning of the resolve we are seeking must begin with the help of Spirit, that will lead to defined actions.  These actions must be in union with the Spirit, following our spiritual and natural laws, teachings and ancestral values.  They must be based on love, kindness and respect.


The true power does not lie in governments, or even in corporations.  The true power lies in the Spirit, and in the power of the individual connected to Spirit.  We must believe in the power of love and respect. To pray together is about taking back our power.  It reflects the need for us as human beings to value our spirituality and spiritual ways of knowing.

People misunderstand prayer and ceremony and think that our work is limited to prayer and ceremony.  We must combine our prayers with direct action, based on direction we will be given through dreams and visions throughout our Nation.  Prayer and ceremony creates a direct relationship with the Spirit that begins to guide us.  We have to meet the Creator half way and do the work that the Spirit asks of us.

Who initiated the National Day of Prayer and Mindfulness?


The National Day of Prayer and Mindfulness was initiated by Elder Dave Courchene from the Turtle Lodge in Manitoba, acting on behalf of a National Indigenous Elder Council from the four directions across Canada.  Elder Courchene has been designated to be the holder and caretaker of a special pipe commissioned by the Elders, that will be used for this prayer.


The Elders are now making a call for a National Day of Prayer and Mindfulness: a national day that people of all religions, denominations and sects pray or meditate in their own way, in their own churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and lodges. The hope is that they stand with Indigenous people and call out in their own way for unity, understanding and a peaceful resolution of issues.


A resolution to hold the National Day of Prayer and Mindfulness on August 6th was passed unanimously at a recent meeting of the Assembly of First Nations Chiefs Committee on Health.


Assembly of First Regional Chief Isadore Day was strongly in support of the idea.


“Humanity is at a crossroads, with many pressing issues facing not only First Nation people, but all races, creeds, religions and genders,” Regional Chief Day said. “We must defer to our Elders and spiritual Knowledge Keepers for direction and support.  Our survival as a human species relies on our willingness to seek wellness of the spiritual foundation of the human family.  To that end, we support fully the National Day of Prayer.“


Grand Chief Patrick Madahbee says it’s important for Canadians and First Nations to come together in a spirit of harmony.


“It is crucial, if we are going to empower ourselves as Indigenous people, that we embrace and restore our identity and legal and spiritual systems,” Grand Chief Madahbee said. “Regional Chief Day is calling out to all First Nation territories to light sacred fires to symbolize and support the National Day of Prayer.

“It is through prayer and ceremony that we ask the Spirit to give us the strength and courage to fulfill our duties and responsibilities that are defined through our original instructions, our spiritual laws, our natural laws, and our ancestral knowledge,” said Elder Courchene.




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WALK FOR RECONCILIATION 2017 – BE THERE! Sun, 09 Jul 2017 01:23:19 +0000

I believe every Mennonite Church of BC member should accept the challenge to continue their support by walking this truth. Reconciliation cannot happen in a vacuum nor a one sided conversation. MCBC needs to be there with feet on the ground this coming September in force. Show that heart for justice and peace making in the world by co-journeying with Indigenous and others the continued commitment for the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada’s work to share this story. Not to forget but to keep it forefront; not “to just get over it” as some of our MCBC members have lamented but to actually be respectful in the necessary remembrance of our legacy as churches. To show compassion, grace and humility in our walk toward reconciliation with our First Nations and to encourage them by our presence in this journey. To be reminded that we live on Traditional Coast Salish territory, unceded, non-surrendered and stolen lands, that it would behove MCBC best to continue the work of recognizing this privately and publicly, in church and also for this walk. Many local native leadership are still wondering where the Mennonites are in all of this. Show them your continued commitment to building good relationships by supporting this walk. Miiiiiiiiiigwetch, Brander

WalkPhoto_forpartners bc-1309+22-18-reconciliation-walk-johnson8924361 images11094334


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Financially support Indian Residential School Survivor’s Society Fri, 07 Jul 2017 18:19:27 +0000  


I strongly recommend MCBC churches to get behind this society as a means of doing the hands on work of reconciliation locally in Vancouver and BC area. These folks guided churches in leadership during the Vancouver TRC and are great people to lend us a walking hand toward reconciliation. PLEASE FINANCIALLY SUPPORT THEM!

thanks kindly,


Indigenous Relations CoordinatorMennonite Church of BC



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