No Easy Answers
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No Easy Answers

ON JANUARY 7, the RCMP arrested 14 Wet’suwet’en protestors and took down a barricade blocking access to Unist’ot’en camp on the Wedzin Kwah (or, to use its more recent colonial misname, the Morice River), about 130 km south of Smithers, B.C. Images of the arrests, made after a B.C. Supreme Court injunction to allow construction of the Coastal GasLink LNG pipeline, created a sense of unease for many Canadians.

Community in Corrections
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Community in Corrections

TERRI-LYNNE MCCLINTIC made headlines in 2018, almost 10 years after she was convicted for her role in the 2009 kidnapping, rape and murder of eight-year-old Tori Stafford. She was originally handed a life sentence and sent to Grand Valley Institution, a federal women’s prison in Kitchener, Ont. At the end of 2018, however, it was revealed that McClintic had actually been transferred from Grand Valley to a very different type of prison. As of April of last year, she had been serving out her sentence at Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge.

Saved By the Voice of a Child
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Saved By the Voice of a Child

This year my local newspaper introduced me to several children and youth who knew that our community has no more time for silence about mental illness. These young people filled our awkward silences with their own stories.

Last month it was 16-year-old Gwen who talked about her anxiety disorders. “It was a huge weight that was controlling my life.” Gwen’s clear, courageous words are making the world a friendlier place for someone who might otherwise feel alone and overwhelmed – right here and now. For that someone, Gwen pointed to one next step: “Now I know I can control it. […] When you have so many thoughts in your head, talking is a big release.”

Protect the Peel
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Protect the Peel

The Peel Watershed, rich in natural resources and wonders, sprawls over 68,000 square kilometres throughout the Yukon wilderness. On December 1st of last year, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of First Nations and environmental groups to commit to the Watershed land use’s Final Recommended Plan, a plan the Yukon government had threatened to “derail” after years of research and public consultation by an independent commission. Yukon Premier Sandy Silver called the ruling “a victory” and stated, “We believe that when people look back at this moment in time, they’re going to see this as the beginning of a new era, one that’s based upon reconciliation” (CBC.ca). Now there are two months of public consultation remaining; the Yukon government plans to release the Final Peel Watershed Land Use Plan in January 2019.

Important Lessons
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Important Lessons

To honour the TRC’s call to reconciliation, we at the Centre have been advocating for follow-through on TRC Calls to Action 7-10, which call for reform of K-12 education for Indigenous peoples, by Indigenous peoples. The Trudeau government has expressed strong support for reconciliation in many ways: committing to the implementation of all TRC Calls to Action; mandating all Cabinet Ministers to prioritize building relationships with Indigenous peoples on a Nation to Nation basis; and making historic and much-needed financial commitments to Indigenous communities in all three of its budgets. These have been important steps.

Seven Generations
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Seven Generations

Thankfully, “Mush Hole” Indian Residential School no longer exists. Its horrific legacy, however, remains. It is hard to know how to address the harms my parents’ generation (unwittingly?) caused our Indigenous neighbours, who also acknowledge they are made in the image of the Creator and who clearly live in a world infused with the Creator’s presence. But now we are aware, and are thus both implicated and responsible.

In a Reservation Cemetery
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In a Reservation Cemetery

There I stood, an old white man who’s written a half-dozen books of meditations, a professor who spent 37 years teaching in a Christian college, and more of my life in church than most Americans can even imagine. I had nothing to say to a couple of Lakota kids who were saddened and snickering that a cemetery stone said their ancestor had been “a Christian and a friend of the whites.”

Caledonia pastor awarded Canada 150 medal for Indigenous reconciliation
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Caledonia pastor awarded Canada 150 medal for Indigenous reconciliation

“I rejoice when I see glimpses of that glory and taste that grace happening in communities where the church can be at the cutting edge of society,” he says, adding that Christians have an unquestioned role in reconciliation with their Indigenous neighbours. “It’s very simple. Jesus says ‘this is my command that you love one another.’ When we hear of suicides or missing women, we as Christians should hear Christ and his cries.”