Truth & Reconciliation

How can I contribute to the process of truth and reconciliation with Indigenous People in Canada?  What do I need to learn?  What do I need to do?  These are the kinds of questions a lot of us at BMC are asking, and the answers are not always clear.


Living Into Right Relations is a newsletter that connects you to a lot of things that are happening with Indigenous people in this area.  Have a look.


Last year, people at BMC went through a variety of doorways  ~ passages that provided some next steps in working towards truth and reconciliation with our Indigenous neighbours.  This year, the BMC Truth & Reconciliation Working Group has put together another series of seven doorways for people in our congregation.  We took into account feedback that we received from last year’s explorations.  These seven doorways provide a range of experiences in learning and doing that will help us in this important work.


What would happen if everyone in our church decided, in the next year, to go through at least one of these doorways?  Let’s find out.


Doorway 1: Grand River Water Ceremony


You are invited to join in a traditional Anishinaabe water ceremony along the Grand River in Kitchener.   The founders of the All Nations Grand River Water Walk have organized this monthly water ceremony to honour the Spirit of Nibi (water).  This hour-long ceremony is open to people of all nations.  Participants will be led in a circle of smudging, sharing, prayers and songs to recognize the crucial place of water in our world.


To Knock On This Door:

The date of each upcoming water ceremony will be shared in the church bulletin.  If you would like to attend one (or more) of these ceremonies, please call Philip Martin (226-789-8615) for more details.  If you want, we will arrange for a member of our Truth & Reconciliation Working Group to attend the ceremony with you.


Doorway 2: Six Nations Land Claims


Participate in an online workshop with the Woodland Cultural Centre about the nature and status of Six Nations Land Claims.  Participants will learn about the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784, historical losses of both land and trust funds monies, and land claims that Six Nations of the Grand River are preparing to litigate in Canadian courts.


To Knock On This Door:

Join the Adult Christian Education class on Sunday, March 5 at 11:00 AM in the sanctuary to participate in this session.


Doorway 3: Engaging With Land Defenders


This three-part experience will help us connect with land defenders at 1492 Landback Lane.  This is the site of a proposed land development near Caledonia, which has been occupied since 2020 by Haudenosaunee protestors, who assert that these lands were never surrendered to the Crown.


MCC will support us through the three portions of experience.  In Part 1, participants will read, view and discuss a variety of materials about 1492 Landback Lane.  We will look at and evaluate a range of perspectives, which will give us a good foundation for meeting with land defenders.  In Part 2, we will try to meet with land defenders at or near the contested site in order to share food together, ask questions and hear what these people have to say.  In Part 3, we will meet back at BMC to reflect on what we have learned and to decide if there are any further actions that we want to take.


To Knock On This Door:

If you would like to participate in these sessions, sign your name on the bulletin board list.  Exact dates and times for sessions have not yet been established.  In general, we hope to hold Part 1 sometime in March, Part 2 sometime in April and Part 3 sometime in May.  By signing your name to this list, you will be consulted about times for scheduling these sessions.


Doorway 4: Quilts For Survivors


Tying quilts is a great way to meet with other people and do something valuable with your hands at the same time.  With support from MCC and our own Creative Hands group, we would like to tie and donate ten quilts to an organization called Quilts For Survivors.  This organization, based in Timmins, solicits quilts from all over the world and donates them to people who have been affected by residential schools in Canada.


We have received ten quilt tops from MCC that are ready for tying.  We have already had one session together where we completed two of these quilts.  With support from Creative Hands, we are arranging for more sessions where people can tie the remaining quilts.  This is a good activity for people of all ages.  We hope to include some educational components in these sessions, so that you can learn more about why these quilts are so important.


To Knock On This Door:

Future quilt-tying sessions will be announced in the bulletin and during services at BMC.  Keep your eyes and ears and hearts open to participate in these sessions.


Doorway 5: Living Into Right Relations Monthly Challenge


A lot of people say that they don’t have many connections to local Indigenous people.  We receive a monthly newsletter called “Living Into Right Relations” that contains all kinds of information about events and opportunities for people to connect with local Indigenous folks, events and organizations.  Our working group plans to provide this newsletter each month to all members of the congregation.


The idea of the Living Into Right Relations Monthly Challenge is for a group of people to commit themselves to trying at least one thing from the newsletter each month.  This group could gather occasionally to talk about what they have done and what they have learned, and perhaps share some of these connections with the church.


To Knock On This Door:

If you want to be part of the Living Into Right Relations Monthly Challenge, please sign your name on the bulletin board list.  We will contact you to set up an initial meeting of participants, at which we can further shape the nature of this challenge.


Doorway 6: A Walk Towards Truth


A Walk Towards Truth is a reflective fundraising walk on behalf of Indigenous survivors, families and communities.  On Saturday April 29th people will walk for the children who, by no choice of their own, were forced into residential schools and stripped of everything they once knew.  The walk is symbolic of the journey the children took when escaping the residential school to return to their families. Sadly, many did not make it. Survivors carry with them the trauma and sorrow of their loss from families, languages, songs, teachings and ceremonies. These losses are still felt today.


Together on this walk, participants mourn these losses and come together to fundraise for the community. Participants are asked to reflect on and pray for the children who were not given the chance to live full lives, many who died at the schools.


The gathering begins at 9 AM at the Brantford Civic Centre. The opening will include reflections from a residential school Survivor. At 9:15, walkers will begin the 21 km journey on foot to the Woodland Cultural Centre (the former Mohawk Institute Residential School) and on towards Six Nations, the home of many of the children. The walk ends at Chiefwood Park, where closing reflections and sharing will take place.


All Funds raised will go to Indigenous centre that aims to support youth through the work of the First Nations Caring Society. Registration is $10 a person and $20 a family.  You may also consider doing additional fundraising for the First Nations Caring Society in connection with this walk.


To Knock On This Door:

You can register for this event here: A Walk Towards Truth. Also, please sign your name on the bulletin board list.  We may be able to facilitate some car-pooling if we know who is planning to attend.


Doorway 7: Two Row On The Grand


Two Row On The Grand is an annual multi-day canoe/kayak trip down the Grand River from Cambridge to the mouth of the river in Lake Erie.  The paddle is done with Haudenosaunee people and allies paddling alongside each other in two separate, yet parallel rows.  This helps to reenact the Two Row Wampum Treaty, in which different cultures were instructed to paddle down the river of life on parallel paths, close enough to support each other, yet not too close as to get in each other’s way.


This year, Two Row On The Grand is a ten-day journey, from July 19 to July 28.  In addition to paddling together, participants will camp, eat meals together, and experience educational events, traditional teachings, dancing, storytelling and sharing circles.  Testimony from past participants suggests that is an intense and transformative experience that brings people into new relationships and ways of thinking.


You can register for all or part of this journey. The cost of this experience is $75 a day ($50 for children).  It would be great if BMC would have representation from one or more people throughout the journey.


To Knock On This Door:

If you are interested in participating in all or part of this journey, please sign your name on the bulletin board list.  Don’t limit your interest because of lack of equipment or available finances ~ our T & R Working Group will try to help people pull together what they might need.  Timelines for registration are short.  Registration opens in March. There are only 100 spaces per night available.  More information (and final registration) can be done on the Two Row On The Grand website.




Let’s go open some doors!










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