Truth and Reconciliation

A circle of hands of many different skin tones is seen around a circle of the traditional indigenous colours of black, white, red and yellow. The circle contains indigenous symbols and is below the text First Nations, Metis and Inuit

Why was St. Peter’s Truth & Reconciliation Study Group created?

“In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Summary Report in 2015, a list of 94 ways (94 Calls to Action) was released so “Canada and all parties to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement could act to readdress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation”.” – Diocese of Toronto

Within the 94 Calls to Action, number 59 addresses the following:

“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.”

As a result, St. Peter’s created the Truth and Reconciliation Study Group in December 2021.

As Senator Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, stated, 

“We must be mindful that a process that will be as long and complicated as the reconciliation of seven generations of inequity will require stewardship, study and ongoing attention…We have described for you a mountain. We have shown you the path to the top. We call upon you to do the climbing.” 

What has the Truth & Reconciliation Study Group done?

The study group initially needed to develop a common understanding of Canada’s true history, as related to Indigenous people. As a result, we have:

  • Investigated resources available and have entered into dialogues with Indigenous representatives, and other subject matter experts (at the Diocese),
  • Viewed and studied the film Doctrine of Discovery: Stolen Lands and Strong Hearts from the Anglican Foundation and General Synod,
  • Created a Google resource library for resources,
  • Welcomed guest speaker Lori Dolloff who shared her work with an Inuit community in Canada’s Arctic and the Reverend Leigh Kern to hear about her work with the Toronto Urban Native Ministry project and experiences with residential school survivors,
  • Participated in the planning and celebration for the Indigenous Day of Prayer services in June of 2022 and 2023, 
  • Discussed the apologies of Archbishop Justin Welby and Pope Francis to Indigenous peoples,
  • Welcomed guest speaker and member Canon David Long who shared his brother’s research and book, “Trick or Treaty,” regarding Treaty Number Nine in the Moosonee region of Ontario,
  • Facilitated the KAIROS Blanket Exercise for parishioners with Elder Cat Criger, Susan Campbell from the Toronto Urban Native Ministry, and Christina Sanakidis (ally),
  • Invited Matthew Wilkinson, historian from Heritage Mississauga, to speak about our local history,
  • Virtually visited the Woodland Cultural Centre and the Mohawk Institute Residential School (Six Nations Reserve – Brantford) and was involved in a Q & A session, afterwards, 
  • Revised created, and facilitated different land acknowledgments, in conjunction with the one created by the PSC, which will continue to address the Indigenous people who are keepers of the land, as well as issues presented in the news, which can be incorporated into the liturgy at different times of the church year,
  • Viewed the video of the play 1939, performed at Stratford. It was a fictitious story about students in a residential school. Kaitlyn Riordin, one of the co-writers of the play spoke with the study group during a follow-up meeting. While writing the play, she and the other co-writer researched about residential schools, and met with many Indigenous people within Ontario,   
  • Invited parishioners to participate in an inter-generational Moccasin Identifier Event at St. Peter’s, weekly commencing on July 9, 2023 and culminating on September 10, 2023 (Gathering Sunday). Each week a different topic was presented to the congregation by members of the study group: introduction to the importance of the exercise, Land and the Environment: Use of it by Indigenous vs. Settlers, Land Acknowledgment, Treaties/Wampum Belt, Residential Schools, Orange Shirt Day, Pow Wows, Moccasins, and completing the study with the Moccasin Stencilling Activity. Many parishioners were involved in the activity,
  • Invited parishioners to a five week hybrid book study, “Our Home and Treaty Land,” by Raymond Aldred and Matthew Anderson,
  • Made suggestions for books for children and adults which were added to our church library.

Through this work, we have learned much about the history and current realities and challenges facing First Nations, Metis, and Inuit communities in Canada.  We will continue exploring opportunities to deepen our knowledge and engage with others in this important journey.

What work will the Truth & Reconciliation Study Group do now?

To support parishioners in their learning journey regarding Truth and Reconciliation, the study group will be:

  1. Updating our website pages periodically to include a list of books, videos, presentations, and events in which parishioners can partake. 
  2. Continue to investigate ways to reach out to Indigenous and other community representatives. 
  3. Engage in opportunities to join with other parishes and their work in exploring reconciliation initiatives for the church and community.
  4. Learn about initiatives supported by the Diocesan office.
  5. Adopt a Call to Action within St. Peter’s, involving all interested groups, inclusive of the youth group or other group(s) to act upon.

How do I get involved with the Truth & Reconciliation Study Group?

Please reach out to Helen Baxter (helenbaxter@rogers.com) for more information. 

DioceseOfToronto

Sunday Services:
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