Voices of Reconciliation, Part 1

If longsuffering is a fruit of the Spirit then our indigenous brothers and sisters must have thousands of hectares under cultivation.

I've been reading, studying more about the relationship in Canada between Indigenous and non-Indigenous (aka Colonizing) peoples, and the place of the United Church in that relationship.  Much of what I've read has been disturbing.  For example:

"Although the United Church had begun holding conferences in 1954 for Aboriginal people and those who worked with them, it did not include any Aboriginal people in the 1956 Commission to Study Indian Work, which conducted a thorough assessment and review of Indian Missions. (from L. Mackenzie Shepherd, From Colonisation to Right Relations).

And, in affirming Indigenous Practice some of our statements from the past are, to say the least, a little one-sided:  “Thus, we have learned that we were wrong to reject, discredit and yes, even outlaw traditional indigenous spiritual practice and ceremony; in amazing circles of grace, as we have begun to listen to the wisdom of the Elders, we have found our own faith enriched and deepened. And we are grateful.” (from The United Church of Canada, Affirming Other Spiritual Paths) This has the ring of "Thanks for what you've given us in spite of ourselves."  It doesn't ask what an equal relationship looks like.

However, our apologies over time open us to healing:  "We ask you to forgive us and to walk together with us in the Spirit of Christ so that our peoples may be blessed and God’s creation healed." (Bob Smith, 1986 Apology)

And then in 1998, Bill Phipps, acknowledging "We are the bearers of many blessings from our ancestors, and therefore, we must also bear their burdens."