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Anniversaries of Indigenous Justice

At the CRC Canadian Indigenous Ministry Committee we mark all kinds of remembrances. August 17th is the anniversary of the discovery of Tina Fontaine’s body. October 23rd is the date Chanie Wenjack died running away from a residential school. May 5th is the National Day of Awareness for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.  

And while we hold and acknowledge these heavy moments that show the necessity of continuing the work of reconciliation, we also mark moments of growth, persistence and resilience. We observe April 14th as the date of Daniel’s decision which made clear that the federal government is responsible for Indigenous people regardless of official or non-official status. October 22nd the implementation of Jordan’s principle, which protects health-care for Indigenous people. Or October 27th the founding date of the Edmonton Native Healing Centre. The Centre will celebrate their 30th anniversary this year. 

Director Harold Roscher describes the centre as “simply a community for people of all cultures, faiths, financial standings, what have you. A place where we can meet and grow together.”  

The centre seeks to address the emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual needs as represented in Indigenous medicine wheel. The backing of the Christian Reformed Church, along with individual and community sponsors has allowed the Centre to expand their services in the community.  

Not only does Roscher want to see the ministry continue celebrating anniversaries but he also hopes to see broader journeys of reconciliation growth as stronger bridges are formed between Indigenous communities and the CRC.

“We see historically the journey between the church and the Indigenous community has not been a good one. I think we’re poised in the next 30 years to make some meaningful inroads into reconciliation and recognizing each other’s gifts,” he said. The recently launched Hearts Exchanged program is designed to help further engagement between Reformed Christians and Indigenous people as neighbours and fellow image bearers. 

As more Christians come together to work towards reconciliation through the work of organizations like the Edmonton Native Healing Centre, programs like Hearts Exchanged, and individual learning we look forward to celebrating more anniversaries of flourishing. 

This article was made possible through a partnership with CRC Ministries within Canada.

  • Victoria Veenstra is the Justice Communications Team Coordinator for the CRC, working for the Centre for Public Dialogue, Office of Social Justice, and Canadian Indigenous Ministries Committee.

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