We are honoured to reside on the traditional lands of Indigenous peoples. These lands are held as sacred by many peoples, including the nations of the Iyarhe Nakoda (Bearspaw, Chiniki and Goodstoney), Blackfoot Confederacy (Kainai, Piikani, Siksika), Tsuut’ina, Secwepemc, Ktunaxa, Dene, Mountain Cree, and Metis (Alberta Region 3). We give thanks for their stewardship and seek a good path forward with our hosts on these lands.
CONGRATULATIONS to Trudy Wesley and Elder Glenda Crawler, who have completed the requirements to be Licensed Lay Worship Leaders in The United Church of Canada! We look forward to celebrating this great achievement in the coming months.
September 30 is National Day of Truth and Reconciliation/Orange Shirt Day
This day honours the survivors of residential schools, the children who never returned home, their families and communities. Acknowledging, learning about and commemorating the tragic and painful history and impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.
National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
As part of the mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). the NCTR was created to listen to Survivors, their families, communities and others affected by the residential school system and educate Canadians about their experiences. The resulting collection of statements, documents and other materials now forms the sacred heart of the NCTR.
The NCTR Archives and Collections is the foundation for ongoing learning and research. Here, Survivors, their families, educators, researchers, and the public can examine the residential school system more deeply with the goal of fostering reconciliation and healing.
Truth and reconciliation week
September 25 – 30, 2023 – Truth and Reconciliation Week – NCTR
Government of Canada
Indigenous Education – Free Courses
University of British Columbia – Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education
University of Alberta – Indigenous Canada
Local Opportunities to Learn Through The Arts
Îethka Voices – A Collective Exhibition by the Nakoda AV Club
At Arts Place in Canmore Sept 1-Oct 2
O’kosi (oh-goh-see) – A visually spectacular production with a talented cast of Blackfoot actors playing in Calgary from Sept 21-30. It depicts the ways in which Indigenous People are healing from the multi-dimensional and multi-generational effects of the Indian Act and the signing of Treaty 7, and how the repercussions of these policies have been passed down.
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Ralph Connor Church, Canmore, is accumulating books to include in an Indigenous Library at the Church (with the intention of these books being signed out and widely read throughout the community of faith). An annotated list of titles is here: https://ralphconnor.ca/indigenous-library/
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RED DRESS DAY – each year on May 5th –
National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit people (MMIWG2S). In addition, October 4th each year is “Sisters in Spirit” Day.
Red Dress Day honours the memories of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBQQIA peoples across Canada. Métis artist, Jamie Black, helped inspire the Red Dress movement where dresses are hung from windows and trees to recognize the pain and loss that loved ones, victims and survivors experience.
The empty red dresses are meant to create a visual representation of the missing people who should be wearing them. The colour red was chosen because it represents the lifeblood and connection between all people, and carries significance for many Indigenous cultures. According to lore, red is the only colour spirits can see. The red dresses aid in calling the spirits of the missing and murdered back to their loved ones.
“The Red Dress represents a calling back to the spirits of these women; allowing them a chance to be among us and have their voices heard through family members and community.”
We honour these women, girls and two-spirit persons each year, by mounting a public display of red dresses outside of the Ralph Connor Churches in Canmore and Banff. In solemn remembrance, a “Red Dress Day” Commemorative Service was held on May 5, 2022 at Rundle Memorial United Church in Banff. The service was recorded, and is posted here.
Government of Canada
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women,
Girls and 2SLGBTQI+ people
This website includes Support Lines and information regarding The Federal Pathway, Programs and Initiatives, About the National Inquiry, History Behind the National Action Plan and other Resources.
(If you are affected by the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQI+ people and need immediate emotional assistance, call 1-844-413-6649. You can also access long-term health support services such as mental health counselling, community-based emotional support and cultural services and some travel costs to see Elders and traditional healers. Family members seeking information about their missing or murdered loved one can access Family Information Liaison Units.)
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MORE about our ongoing journey and intention toward Right Relations:
We strive to live into right relations with our First Nations sisters and brothers. We respect the apologies offered by the United Church of Canada to the Indigenous peoples of this land, and have held a number of workshops to help us take seriously the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
The discoveries in the summer of 2021 at the Kamloops Residential School remind us of the ongoing, important work of Reconciliation. This work begins with taking seriously the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which include specific Calls to the Churches. Included within these calls are four calls pertaining to gravesites at former IRS locations.
We are accumulating books to include in an Indigenous Library at the Church (with the intention of these books being signed out and widely read throughout the congregation). An annotated list of titles is here: https://ralphconnor.ca/indigenous-library/
To see the 1986 and 1998 Apologies issued by the United Church of Canada to Indigenous Persons, click here. To donate to the United Church of Canada’s long-established Healing Fund, to assist IRS survivors, click here.
We remember with sorrow all children who died at Canada’s 139 Residential Schools, and all people and families traumatized by this system. As an Affirming Ministry of the United Church of Canada, on Treaty 7 lands, we recommit ourselves to love, justice and reconciliation.
Review of TRC themes: Indigenous Watchdog
This website includes A description of the current status of each Truth and Reconciliation “Theme”. Select each of Child Welfare, Education, Language and Culture, Health, Justice and Reconciliation to see the status of each individual Call to Action: how many of each theme have been completed and links to dive deeper to learn more.
Chinook Winds Region: Indigenous Ally Toolkit Available for free download
As its preface states: “The toolkit was created by Chinook Region Members of The United Church of Canada, located in Southern and Central Alberta (predominantly Treaty 7), to address information needs, an expression of our journey and the work of the Indigenous church inits ongoing work to build better relations. We bring together and share trusted resources and information to move our church and congregations forward in our work to build right relations with Indigenous peoples. It aligns with the TRC Call to Action #59, which states: ‘We call upon church parties to the Settlement Agreement to develop ongoing education strategies to ensure that their respective congregations learn about their church’s role in colonization, the history and legacy of residential schools, and why apologies to former residential school students, their families, and communities were necessary’.”
KAIROS Blanket Exercise