SEEKING RIGHT RELATIONSHIPS
Striving to learn, engage and make connections with Canada’s Indigenous Peoples
As part of the United Church’s commitment to building just and respectful relationships with Canada’s First Peoples, Southminster United wants to share on this page information about ways we can connect with our Aboriginal neighbours and learn more about their experiences of life in Canada today and in the past.
United Church of Canada - Reconciliation and Indigenous Justice
The United Church of Canada continues its thirty year journey with Indigenous peoples towards mutuality, respect and equity. Under many of the topics on this page you will find videos describing the United Church’s past relations with our Indigenous neighbours and the commitment to work towards reconciliation.
Letter from Our Moderator - February, 2018
Read here a powerful letter from our Moderator, the Right Rev. Jordan Cantwell reflecting on racism and privilege after the verdict in the second-degree murder trial of Gerald Stanley. Stanley had been charged in the death of Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old man from Red Pheasant First Nation in Treaty 6 (Saskatchewan).
Southminster's Banner for Right Relationship
Southminster's Banner for Right Relationship with Indigenous Peoples, displayed in our chancel and pictured here, was created in recognition of the United Church of Canada’s commitment to reconciliation and right relations. For more information about the meaning behind the banner and its design please refer to this document.
Supporting the Grassy Narrows Ojibway First Nation
The Grassy Narrows community has had devastating health effects* from the mercury contamination of their water and fish by the chemical effluent of upstream industrial activity in Dryden. Although the chemical pollution of the Grassy Narrows water and fish (their main food source) occurred over 40 years ago, the mercury contamination of the Wabigoon River system has persisted. Studies show that community members with mercury poisoning are six times more likely to suffer from a wide range of debilitating health problems. Only 21% of Grassy Narrows members reported their health as being "good or excellent." (compared to 40% of other Ontario First Nations and 60% of non-Indigenous people in Canada). Twenty-eight per cent of Grassy Narrows’ respondents had attempted suicide – twice the rate of other First Nations (which are already among the highest rates in Canada) More information
The Grassy Narrows studies released December 5 are significant because “it’s the first time that there has been a population-based study of the community that links fish consumption to health outcomes and that looks at the difference between Grassy Narrows and other First Nation communities.
The new research also found signs that the children of Grassy Narrows are active despite their significant challenges. More than two-thirds of all children and youth participate in community-organized cultural events, and 88 per cent of children swim, jog or mountain bike.
Many of the teens of Grassy Narrows have participated in logging blockades and marches to protest government inaction on the mercury contamination. Their song “Home to me” has more than a quarter-million views on youtube, the website says. (Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgaYz8YWsO8)
“Our youth are brave and talented people who have overcome great obstacles to leave their mark on Canada,” said Chief Rudy Turtle. “But every day they face the legacies of mercury, colonialism, and residential schools, so it is an uphill battle for them. They deserve to have a good life and to enjoy themselves like other youth do, without having to fight again and again for basic fairness.
How We Can Help
This specific link below calls for action to send a message to the federal govt (Trudeau) to address this problem and find a solution and provide fair compensation for this community. This community has also been struggling to resist industrial level clear cut logging on their lands. This site is also a site where donations can be made. Free Grassy » PM Trudeau: Compensate Grassy Narrows for Mercury Crisis
Opportunities for Deepening Learning about and Connecting with Indigenous People
Noon Teachings, Visits,Tours & Volunteering
Kiche Anishnabeg Kumik, Indigenous Northern Affairs Canada
Noon Teachings. Contact: Patrick Beaudoin 819-997-9703
Iskotew Lodge, Health Canada.
Contact: Christine Chapman at 613-957-3216
Minwaashin Aboriginal Women Support Centre
Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health wabano.com/
Culture Night every Monday, 5:30-8:00 pm
Odawa Native Friendship Centre
Volunteer opportunities at Shawenjeagamik house drop-in centre for at-risk, street involved, homeless population (510 Rideau St). Contact: Joyce Hardman at
Readings and Video Links: Click here for pdf
Ecumenical list serve on local activity
To join contact: Manuela at
First Nations Child and Family Caring Society
The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal announced on January 26, 2016 its decision in a case brought against the Federal government by the Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations. In a landmark ruling, the Tribunal finds the Canadian government is racially discriminating against 163,000 First Nations children. Read the ruling, information sheets that describe the case and its implications, and the press release here. However, the CHRT needed to issue a third non-compliance order against the federal government on May 26, 2017 finding that little has changed since its January 2016 ruling. More information here.
KAIROS Canada – faithful action for justice
KAIROS Canada, with offices in Ottawa, provides ongoing information and support in the area of Indigenous rights in Canada and abroad. On their website is both background and current information about initiatives relevant to the pursuit of right relations with the First Peoples of Canada.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
After six years of study and hearings the Truth and Reconciliation Commission presented its complete six volume report on December 15, 2015. The full report can be found on the TRC website.
The Moderator of the United Church, the Right Rev. Jordan Cantwell, attended the event in Ottawa to mark the release of the final report. Her presentation at this event can be read here.