National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: Bridges
A major step was taken toward reconciliation this summer when the Pope visited Canada. As we carry on walking together in humility, there remains quite a way to go on the road to decolonization!
In the Church, as took place last year, a special Mass will be celebrated to mark this important day. This year, the organizations Mission chez nous and the Centre étudiant Benoît Lacroix will be hosting the event on Sunday, October 2, from 6:00 p.m. onwards: https://www.missioncheznous.com/une-celebration-unique-en-collaboration-avec-le-cebl/
It is not only the Catholic Church, but also the Government of Canada that, on behalf of the Canadian people, takes this occasion to reiterate the need for truth and reconciliation.
What to do?:
The recognition of peoples, of their histories, their dignity and their rights – these are at the core of the ongoing process of healing and of truth and reconciliation.
Many Indigenous men and women spoke at the beginning of the March for Climate Justice on September 23, putting pressure on society to respect and to protect Mother Earth and to care for the next seven generations.
Julie Lambert, from Pekuakami (Mashteuiatsh or Pointe-Bleue), writes that “bridges still have to be constructed mutually between our cultures.” (Le Progrès, Sept. 24, p.M9) Ignorance and prejudice are still too common. Education and raising awareness are the keys to establishing dialogue that is informed with mutual respect. She encourages us to reach out and encounter members of the First Nations peoples, to visit museums and take part in cultural and artistic activities…
Education and raising awareness:
The Social Action Office recommends the guidebook published by the Jesuit Forum for Social Faith and Justice, Listening to Indigenous Voices. They even developed some supplementary references to illustrate the Quebec context specifically. The guidebook can be used by groups of all kinds or by any individual. See ltiv.ca or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Three are three parishes in the English sector of the Archdiocese of Montreal who have begun using the dialogue guide to build bridges across ignorance towards Indigenous people of Canada. Visit this video to hear how one parish priest describes the experience of his parish members with the guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PLCoxUSYUU
In addition, the document Aboriginal Peoples: Fact and Fiction is an essential reference in Quebec: https://cdpdj.qc.ca/en/publications/mythes-et-realites-peuples-autochtones
Communities and individuals to meet in the settings where we live:
- According to the 2021 Census, close to 21,000 people identifying as Indigenous reside in Montreal (16,675), Laval (3,310) and Repentigny (885). Of these, 8,640 identify themselves as Métis, and 5,215 are “registered Indians.”
- The Montreal Indigenous Community Network gives a voice to this collective. Did you know that two pow-wows were held in Montreal in the month of September?
- The Native Friendship Centre of Montreal is a place to meet and find mutual support;
- The closest Indigenous community is Kahnawá:ke, just over the Mercier Bridge;
- Indigenous voices can be heard by:
- Visiting the McCord Museum
- Listening to the program Confluents on Radio VM
- Taking part in workshops or encounters organized by Kina8at or hosting some of these in your area;
- Exploring online resources developed by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation for students in Grades 1 to 12.
In the setting where you live, what does the Spirit call you to focus on on this day? And how could this day affect the coming year for you?
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