“I think that we still have so much to give, to teach, and to be in relationship with.”
Healing begins with truth and reconciliation.
In late October 2022, the federal government recognized the residential school system as an act of genocide against Canada’s Indigenous Peoples.
It was a reminder that we are still very much on the path to reconciliation and healing.
“We know that we have an impact as The United Church of Canada,” says the Rev. Murray Pruden. He is Nehiyaw, Cree First Nations, from the Goodfish Lake and Saddle Lake First Nations and is the current Executive Minister for Indigenous Ministries and Justice for The United Church of Canada.
Supported by Mission & Service, Pruden has made significant gains in building relationships of trust and healing between the church and Indigenous communities.
After unmarked graves were discovered in Kamloops, BC, in 2021, the United Church gave an additional $3 million to help Indigenous communities respond, mourn, heal, and potentially find other unmarked graves.
Because we believe every child matters!
The funds also supported the dedication of memorials to lost children, like one for a BC community that raised a totem pole funded in part by Mission & Service.
Other healing initiatives include the translation of the Mohawk Language Bible, the Food for the North program, healing circles, and programs for Indigenous youth to learn and reclaim their languages.
Pruden stresses the need for patience.
“Ever since Kamloops, we had many non-Indigenous church communities and people ask what they can do or how can they contribute in different ways,” he says. “And we at the time really kind of put our hands up and said, ‘Whoa, we need to pause for a minute because we need to mourn.’
“I think that we still have so much to give, to teach, and to be in relationship with. And as long as we have a greater understanding within the church and the supports, we can do it.”
Relationships, friendships, understanding, and trust―these are the foundations of the work Mission & Service is doing across Turtle Island thanks to your generosity.
A more detailed video, A Deeper Look: The Path toward Healing, is available on YouTube.