March 31, 2016
Seven churches and religious organizations jointly commited to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) Call to Action 48 in a press conference in the Charles Lynch Room on Parliament Hill on March 30. This call urges the faith community to implement the principles, norms and standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation.
TRC Commissioner Marie Wilson responded the statement, which came a day before the deadline set by the TRC. It is the only deadline issued by the TRC in its 94 Calls to Action and it involves churches, faith groups and interfaith social justice groups.
Speaking at the press conference on behalf of the churches and religious organizations that have signed the ecumenical statement were the Right Reverend Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous Anglican Bishop. The following faith leaders were also in attendance: The Right Reverend Jordan Cantwell, Moderator, United Church of Canada, The Rev. Karen Horst, Moderator, Presbyterian Church in Canada, National Bishop Susan Johnson, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Manuela Popovici, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), and Major Shari Russell, representing the Salvation Army.
Released in June 2015, the TRC’s Calls to Action challenge Canadians to address and overcome more than a century of systemic discrimination and abuse in the residential school system, and to create a transformed relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
The UN Declaration affirms Indigenous peoples’ human rights and emphasizes that these rights set a minimum standard for the survival, dignity and well-being of Indigenous peoples. By asserting that the Declaration is the framework for reconciliation, the TRC calls on the faith community to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.
Read the Ecumenical Statement on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples here: http://www.kairoscanada.org/what-we-do/indigenous-rights/churches-response-call-action-48
The ELCIC issued its statement on March 22. View the ELCIC's statement here: http://www.elcic.ca/news.cfm?article=436
Responses from individual churches can be viewed here: http://www.kairoscanada.org/what-we-do/indigenous-rights/churches-response-call-action-48
Photos and a video of the press conference can be viewed here: http://www.kairoscanada.org/photos-video-churches-respond-call-action-48-un-declaration-rights-indigenous-peoples