5 March 2018
[Bishop Mark McDonald Anglcain Journal] The recent acquittal of Gerald Stanley in the death of Colten Boushie has revealed a deep and abiding difference in the experience of Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous people across Canada. For many Indigenous people, this was both heartbreaking and familiar. For many other Canadians, there was both dismay and some surprise. The enormous gaps in the performance of justice, the widespread and obvious denial of basic respect and dignity for Indigenous people in the legal system, have become clear in a way that is a sharp jolt to a broader public.
Many of the responses to the verdict have been useful and good; Senator Murray Sinclair’s comments stand out as practical, wise and constructive. While holding onto these practical steps forward, it is very important to recognize some of the deep truths this matter reveals. The deep and wide presence of systemic evil in Canadian society and culture has become clear to a larger group of Canadians. Recognizing this, may we perceive that there is no healthy way forward for Canada without an effective dismantling of the systemic evil we call racism.
The conscious attitudes of individuals are where most people locate racism. For significant parts of Canadian society, therefore, outright prejudice against Indigenous people is no longer accepted in polite conversation and behavior. But, the systemic nature of racism is revealed in that long after direct statements of prejudice are rejected, bias and fear of “the other” are still embedded in all the various structures and institutions of our society—including the institution of the church. Sadly, and with deadly impact, bias and fear of the other linger in the hidden and habitual attitudes of great portions of our society.
The full article can be found here
28 February 2018
[Anglican Journal by Joelle Kidd] Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, is calling on people of faith to pray for those affected by the shooting death of Colten Boushie, an Indigenous young man, and the subsequent trial and acquittal of Gerald Stanley, the Saskatchewan farmer accused of killing him. Hiltz also sought prayers for “the needs for reform in the justice system.”
“With great empathy, we especially remember the Boushie family and Red Pheasant First Nation,” said Hiltz, in a statement released February 21.
The statement also encourages people of faith to respond through action. “We encourage you to attend or organize public events in your community. They could be opportunities for listening, learning, advocacy, and action concerning human rights, racism, and justice.”
Boushie, a 22-year-old Cree man, was fatally shot Aug. 9, 2016, after he and four others drove onto Stanley’s cattle farm near Biggar, Sask. Stanley testified that the shot was accidental and possibly due to a malfunction known as a hang fire. On Feb. 9, 2018, a Saskatchewan jury found him not guilty of second-degree murder.
8 September 2016
In February 2015, the Anglican Diocese of Montreal hired a diocesan-sponsored clergyperson to focus exclusively on Indigenous ministries. Originally from the northern Quebec community of Kuujjuarapik in the Diocese of the Arctic, the Rev. Annie Ittoshat brings a strong cultural and professional background to her position as Aboriginal Community Minister. Her newly-created position offers a particular focus on ministry to the large population of Inuit in Montreal who have come from northern communities for employment opportunities, social services, or to seek medical treatment.
[Photo: The Rev. Annie Ittoshat currently serves as Aboriginal community minister for the Diocese of Montreal. Submitted photo by Janet Best]
4 February 2016
[Anglican Church of Canada by Matt Gardner] Alongside the legacy of cultural genocide against the Indigenous peoples of Canada, embodied in the residential school system, is the tragic history of what some scholars consider to be a case of full-fledged genocide. The Beothuk, the Indigenous people of Newfoundland, were declared extinct in 1829 following the death of their last known living member, Shanawdithit. The annihilation of a people due to starvation, disease, violence and competition for resources, and the loss of virtually their entire culture, followed centuries of encroachment by European settlers.
In 1819, an armed band of men journeyed into central Newfoundland seeking a Beothuk group accused of stealing their property. During the resulting skirmish, several Beothuk people were killed, including Nonosabasut, the man believed to be the chief of the tribe.
His wife, Demasduit, was captured and brought to the town of Twillingate. There she was put in the care of the Rev. John Leigh, an Anglican priest and missionary who in 1816 had become the area’s first resident clergyman and who voiced concerns about the treatment of the Beothuk.
[photo.The Rev. Dr. Joanne Mercer, rector of the Parish of Twillingate, stands beside Gerald Squires' statue "The Spirit of the Beothuk" in Boyd's Cove, Nfld. The statue depicts Shanawdithit, the last known living member of the Beothuk people.]
5 October 2015
Located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River in Québec, the Kahnawà:ke territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) people, faces an issue shared by First Nations communities across the country: the preservation of its language and culture.
Out of a population of approximately 8,000 people, less than 200 speak Kanien’kehá:ka as their first language. The majority of native speakers are elders, whose advancing age means that that number declines further each year.
Referring to the proportion of native speakers, Reaghan Tarbell, executive director of theKanien’kehá:ka Onkwawén:na Raotitióhkwa Language and Cultural Center, noted, “That really … shows you that a significant number of the population does not know the language, and we need to try and reach our different segments of the population any way we can.”