This Network began as the “Living into Right Relations Committee” following a General Council initiative in 2008. Every former Conference (regional church body) was invited to enlist 3 Indigenous and 3 non-Indigenous people to work together in living out the apologies and encourage participation in the hearings being held by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which concluded in 2015. Read on for an invitation for today; and invitation to action; and to learn about our roots.
We invite you to:
identify a Witness in your faith community (click here to learn more about this)
use the many videos, books, and other resources that Indigenous artists and writers have created;
and invite Indigenous speakers to help challenge racism and white privilege, and appreciate the gifts of Indigenous peoples.
Our hearts are strong.
To sign up to be a Witness, and to connect with the Network, please contact the network through its staff supports:
Julie Graham, Northern Spirit, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Mah Poy, Chinook Winds, ChrisMahPoy@united-church.ca
Who We Are Today
As of January 2019, in light of the changes in the church governance structure, we are now a network covering the province of Alberta, northeastern BC and NWT; and parts of territories of Treaties 6, 7, 8, 10 and 11 and Metis Nation of Alberta regions across two United Church Regions: Northern Spirit, and Chinook Winds.
We met in October 2019 at St. Albert United Church in conjunction with an event they hosted with speakers Dr. Pat Makokis and Dr. Davina Rousell on allyship. A core group of convenors continues to discern how to best support any and all witnesses and communities of faith in nurturing better relations between settlers and newcomers and Indigenous peoples.
The Living into Right Relations Standing Committee serving Alberta, Yukon, NWT, and northeastern BC held several gatherings at camps. The purpose: to bring together Indigenous Elders and leaders, settlers, and newcomers to learn about our shared history and build relationships, and to be equipped to raise awareness of the Settlement Agreement and TRC process, and other Indigenous justice issues in their congregations and Presbyteries. The KAIROS Blanket Exercise was a cornerstone to these events.
In 2016, we invited congregations to name one or two witnesses who would ‘carry the torch’ to respond to the Calls to Action issued by the TRC. Some 50 congregations and 100 people took up the challenge articulated by TRC Chair Sinclair this way: “We have described for you a mountain. We have shown you the path to the top. We call upon you to do the climbing.”
In May 2017 and October 2018, the Living into Right Relations group sponsored two “Boosts for the Journey” for the witnesses from all over the former Alberta and Northwest Conference. Along with the Blanket Exercise and other videos, we examined what it means to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation, and to honor the Calls to the Church from the Indigenous United Church. We talked about ways our congregations can learn and grow into an understanding of “We are all Treaty people”.