Abiding in Right Relations

Archdeacon elected first Indigenous bishop for Treaty 7 territory


On April 22, the diocese of Calgary elected Archdeacon Sidney Black as its first-ever suffragan bishop dedicated fully to Indigenous ministry.

Black, who has long been involved in Indigenous ministry locally and for the national church, was chosen unanimously by a group of Indigenous clergy, laypeople and elders during an election held at Christ Church Anglican in Nanton, Alta.

He will be the first bishop to serve the Indigenous Anglican churches of the Blackfoot Confederacy in Treaty 7 territory.

read more…

Indigenous McCauley: A History and Contemporary Overview of First Nations and Métis Life in the McCauley Neighbourhood is a booklet supported by McCauley Revitalization/City of Edmonton that was printed and distributed March 30, 2017. Paula Kirman worked on it for over a year as the Project Lead, Editor, and photographer, with the noted Métis writer Marilyn Dumont.

“People need to learn about the Treaties that were signed and how those agreements were supposed to govern relations between First Nations and Canada plus the settlers who came to live on our lands. People need to know that if not for our contributions, Canada would look much different today and the relationship between us would probably be further strained.”

For a free pdf of the book, click here: Indigenous McCauley – part one
Indigenous McCauley – part two

ELCIC responds to Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action #48

Winnipeg, 22 March 2016–In a statement issued by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), the church lifts up its commitment to implementing the values and principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and recognizes the importance of the declaration as the “framework for reconciliation.”

The statement responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) final report issued in June 2015, which included within it 94 Calls to Action.

Call to Action #48 calls all religious denominations and faith groups to issue a statement no later than March 31, 2016 “as to how they will implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

To read the complete news release, click here.

How Residential School has affected me: a reflection by Sui-Taa-Kii (Danielle Black)

Sui-Taa-Kii (Danielle Black) is from the Siksika First Nations, which is a part of the Blackfoot Confederacy, Plains people, Treaty 7, and delivered this speech at a recent gathering “Abiding in Right Relations: Laying the Foundations”, the Synod of Alberta and the Territories cross border conversation, which was held in Airdrie, November 2015, following the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

A few weeks ago, my grandparents approached me to speak about my experiences with Residential Schools, and how it’s ultimately affected me and my life. My first thought was “YES! there’s no question, I have to do this.” but I didn’t realize the amount of self-reflection, and looking back in retrospect I would be doing…. read more.

Abiding in Right Relationships … Our Synod’s Journey

The Doctrine of Discovery.
Residential Schools.

These are some of the things that have jeopardized right relationships between Canada’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007).
Canada’s Apology for Residential Schools (2008).
The work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2009-2015).

These are some of the foundations upon which Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples in Canada are seeking to build right relationships.

But where do Lutherans fit in to this?

Why, as Lutherans, are we called to care about building right relationships with Indigenous Peoples? The Catholic, Anglican, United, and Presbyterian Churches ran Residential Schools. Not the Lutheran Church. When Lutherans came to Canada, they did so as immigrants, not with an eye to colonization, but just to find a place, any place, to live. And as far as the Doctrine of Discovery goes it seems highly unlikely that anybody with the last name of Anderson or Olson, Schultz or Schmidt were with Columbus in 1492 when “he sailed the ocean blue,” or with John Cabot in 1497 when he tried to repeat the journey and landed on the shores of Newfoundland. How easy it is to say, “Thank heavens this whole “Indigenous thing” isn’t about us!” But it is about us, because the effects of the Doctrine of Discovery, Colonialism and Residential Schools (just to name a few), still affect, and will continue to affect Indigenous Peoples. These things (and so many more) have caused continuing imbalances of power and created huge social divides. These things (and so many more) continue to skew the community of creation that God intends.

So, Lutherans in our synod are learning. We are learning about the rich and important past, present, and future of the Indigenous Peoples we live with on the lands, territories and resources we share. We are learning that Talking Circles often have more value than ranks of pews all lined up so we can hear the pastor preach at us. We are learning that walking beside Indigenous Peoples isn’t good enough, but only walking with them will do. We have so much to learn.

Following his participation in the Truth and Reconciliation Alberta National Event in Edmonton March 27-30, 2014, the Rev. Dr. Larry Kochendorfer, Bishop of the Synod of Alberta and the Territories, made building right relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples a ministry priority for the synod. An initial meeting of thirteen Indigenous and non-Indigenous Lutheran Peoples (rostered and non-rostered) serving God in Treaty 6 and 8 areas met at the synod office on December 2, 2014. On February 2, 2015, a group of four Indigenous and nonIndigenous Lutheran Peoples serving God in the Treaty 7 area, met in Canmore before the start of the annual Study Conference. On Wednesday night of the Study Conference, 21 people gathered with Anglican Indigenous Bishop, Mark McDonald (conference keynote speaker) for a working dinner to discuss ways to move this important ministry priority forward in our synod.

Subsequent to the Study Conference, Bishop Kochendorfer endorsed the formation of a Coordinating Committee made up of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples who are serving God in Treaty Areas 6, 7, and 8. The committee will work across the synod to encourage education, advocacy, and service so that all of the synod’s members and congregations can be involved in the process.

In just a short time, right relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples are growing. As Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples in the Synod of Alberta and the Territories, we are beginning to learn from each other as we take first steps toward building right relationships.

By Pastor Ann Salmon, Edson, AB


For more information, click on the following links:

ELCIC National office: Reconciliation Is About Change: TRC Commissioner Addresses Lutheran Convention