Sunday at Scarboro – June 17, 2018

Worship Start Time: 10:30am
Theme: Indigenous Sunday

Worship begins at 10:30 and the coffee is hot at 10am, come early and gather in community. There will also be coffee and conversation in the Marilyn Perkins - Memorial Hall after the service.

Today we celebrate Indigenous Sunday, with a special worship service led by Rev. Lee Spice, Sharon Woodhouse, and Dean Halliday. We will also be telling you about the Moose Hide Campaign. You will have the opportunity to make a pledge to work towards ending violence towards women and children, and receive a moose hide patch to wear as a symbol of your commitment.

Indigenous Sunday – What is Reconciliation?
June 17, 2018
Sharon Woodhouse


Hello, my name is Sharon Woodhouse. I am currently a member of the Living into Right Relations Standing Committee for Alberta North West Conference. It is a committee that was formed after the TRC had finished its last presentation some 5 years ago. We are dedicated to furthering the work of the TRC, to keep the actions defined by the TRC alive and moving forward.

I am by no means an expert on any of this information I am about to share with you but I AM full of passion- with a love of and a dedication to righting the wrongs done to our Indigenous peoples.

What I hope to do is tell you something you didn’t know before and get you thinking about what reconciliation means to you – because it may be different for each person depending on the experience that person brings to the table.

So – let’s start with the textbook definition of reconciliation:

  1. the restoration of friendly relations
  2. the actions of making one point of view compatible with another

Sounds easy – right?

It has been five years since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its final report on residential schools in Canada and offered 94 “calls to action”, which is a general handbook on how to achieve reconciliation within Canada. Individuals, groups and communities, and government groups across Canada are answering those calls to action in different ways.

There are movies out there that call attention to the damage done to individual children from the residential school program. I refer to “Where Are the Children”, “We are All Treaty People”, and “Iron Horse” to name a few.

There are plays about healing. One is called “Young Blood” and features a troupe of young people working through trauma.  Some United churches are holding workshops to offer Traditional Teachings to non-Indigenous people.

Our own church has a “Talking Stick Healing Ceremony” for Indigenous and non-Indigenous women once a month. This circle is the birth child of Marilyn Shingoose and Lee Spice and is widely attended by people from different walks of life. Smudging, a circle of conversations that heal, and food are all shared at this event.

Hillhurst UC holds an open monthly group and presents an Indigenous teaching, presentation, or movie on reconciliation once a month. Their website offers a listing of Indigenous activities happening across Calgary.

Knox UC is going to be the new home for the Aboriginal Friendship Centre that is currently being housed in a warehouse in SE Calgary. They recently held a workshop on decolonization called “OUR Home ON Native Land”.

Wild Rose held an Arts Festival with a focus on Indigenous art. Amazing works of art both for visualization and purchase were displayed.

These are just a few of the actions being brought alive across Calgary by United Churches.

There are many other activities being offered on a monthly basis by community groups all over Calgary.

The Acknowledgement of Territory that we do at our service and no doubt is being adopted and pronounced at many public events is much bigger than just saying the words. It needs to take place within the larger concept of genuine and ongoing work to forge real understanding, and to challenge the legacies of colonialism.

Reconciliation is the goal and we need to take our time getting there, to move slowly and act with great love. It will take the commitment of multiple generations of people to reach true reconciliation, but when it is achieved, when we have a reconciled Canada, it will be a STRONGER Canada.

“But I still have no idea what I can do” you might say. Here are some suggestions:

  1. go see “INDIAN HORSE”
  2. read something, anything by Richard Wagamese, Wab Canu, or Joseph Boyden
  3. Watch CBC’s  “8th FIRE”
  4. Look up “Living into Right Relations” website on Facebook

In other words, you need to seek out ways to educate yourself and find out what the truth is.

Certainly we did not get the education in our schools. Find out what your high school and university did not tell you. The information is out there. Know your sources.  Learn the truth about residential schools because to turn away is taking the risk it could happen again.

Find out where stuff is happening and attend an event. Sit in a circle, attend a pow-wow this summer, stand behind our Indigenous people as they struggle to reclaim their culture and identity.



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