Truth & Reconciliation Working Group

The constituency-based MCEC Truth & Reconciliation Working Group serves the MCEC constituency by promoting awareness and education on specific issues and topics. The information and links are those of the Working Group and do not necessarily represent MCEC as a whole.

Join the MCEC Truth and Reconciliation Working Group, along with MCCO Indigenous Neighbours Program, in this informative webinar about Land and Territory Acknowledgement, the place of these statements in our worship services. and developing and using Land Acknowledgements.

National Indigenous Peoples Day - June 21

June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. This is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
 
In the spirit of “truth and reconciliation” we encourage congregations to mark the celebrationof National Indigenous Peoples Day. Growing awareness and knowledge of the full truth of the place of Indigenous peoples in the past, present and future of our land is one of the steps we can take on the path of reconciliation.


Worship / Educational Resource

Statement re: Colonial Violence Against Land Defenders at
1492 Landback Lane near Six Nations and Caledonia, Ontario

March 2, 2021
For Immediate Release

Mennonite allies say to Government, Courts and Police: We Are Watching.
No Colonial Violence Against the Land Defenders at 1492 Landback Lane

Today, many Mennonites are calling on government, police and courts to end colonial violence against Indigenous Land Defenders at 1492 Landback Lane (near Six Nations and Caledonia).

The Land Defenders recently removed road blockades that they put up in October 2020 to protect themselves after Ontario Provincial Police fired rubber bullets and used Tasers against them. The Land Defenders removed the barriers in February as a good faith gesture, but in the absence of those defenses, there is grave concern for their safety. Last week, a young woman who was at 1492 Land Back Lane this past summer, was arrested by Ontario Provincial Police in front of her children. “The Land Defenders have already been subject to arrests and intimidation and have been fired upon by police. We do not want to see a repeat of the raid by riot police that took place under similar circumstances in 2006”, said Scott Morton Ninomiya, chair of the Mennonite Church Eastern Canada Truth and Reconciliation Working Group (TRWG). The pattern of colonial violence perpetrated by government, courts and police against Indigenous People asserting their land rights is repeated with tragic regularity across Canada. It is past time for that pattern to end.

“Police are not the only ones practicing careful surveillance of the 1492 Landback Lane site. We are watching this situation very carefully: as people of faith; as Settlers concerned about Indigenous rights; and as Canadian citizens to whom police and courts are accountable.” said Morton Ninomiya. “We will be vocal and unrelenting in our criticism of any violence against the Land Defenders and we will hold those responsible for ordering violence politically accountable.”


Today the Mennonite Church Eastern Canada Truth and Reconciliation Working Group (TRWG) is sending a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, Premier Doug Ford, the Ontario Provincial Police and Ontario Provincial Courts. The letter calls on government, courts and police to:

  1. Refrain from any form of violence against the Land Defenders.
  2. Stop criminalizing the Land Defenders through injunctions and other legal instruments designed to intimidate them in their pursuit of their rights under the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples (to which Canada is a signatory).
  3. Start real and substantive dialogue to resolve long-standing issues with all stakeholders including the Land Defenders. Primary among these issues is the unresolved land claims on the
    1492 Landback Lane site.

“We stand in solidarity with the Land Defenders. We call on the government, police and courts to honour the Haldimand Proclamation and Haudenosaunee sovereignty at 1492 Landback Lane”, said Morton Ninomiya. “It is in their power to help bring a peaceful, just and prompt resolution to this conflict in the interest of all concerned. We are watching.”


For more information about MCEC TRWG https://mcec.ca/programs/truth-and-reconciliation


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Media Contact:
Scott Morton Ninomiya
Chair, Truth and Reconciliation Working Group
Mennonite Church Eastern Canada
Phone: 519-501-7331
Email: scottdmn@gmail.com


An Online Story-Telling Series 2020-2021

all speakers in a chart

The MCEC Truth and Reconciliation Working Group held a year-long online story-telling series in 2020-2021. It was centred on covenants made, broken and renewed.

Our grandchildren will hear stories about 2020: railroad blockades, a global pandemic, and worldwide protests of systemic racism. While the pandemic will pass, broken treaties with Indigenous peoples will continue to fuel Indigenous-Settler conflict unless we learn from history. Treaties are covenantal relationships. This series included Indigenous and Mennonite Settler voices, shining light on the history of broken covenants – and illuminating pathways of hope to a more just future for all nations on this land.

Watch videos from the series

MCEC Truth and Reconciliation Working Groups are part of the larger MC Canada Indigenous Settler Working Group structure.

There are five MCEC Truth & Reconciliation Working Groups:

Niagara Area
Greater Toronto Area
Markham Stouffville and Toronto

Kitchener-Waterloo Area
Hamilton Area

Mennonites Call for Peaceful Engagement with Wet'suwet'en Protectors and Their Allies
From the MCEC Truth & Reconciliation Working Group - March 2020

As members of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada congregations, we are deeply concerned with events on Wet’suwet’en territory and the many solidarity blockades which have arisen in recent weeks.

According to Christian scriptures, a primary agenda for God is reconciliation among peoples. (2 Corinthians 5: 19). Mennonites in Canada reaffirmed our commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in the New Covenant signed in 1987, and we continue that work in response to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We implore our elected leaders to take the message of reconciliation seriously in their responses to the current crisis. A commitment by Canadians to engage in reconciliation with our Indigenous sisters and brothers is paramount at this point in our history. It is one of the most important tasks for this generation of Canadians. It is work that will require creativity, compassion, patience, wisdom and much courage. In this spirit, we implore our leaders to show true strength and leadership in addressing the current crisis. We invite our political leaders to resist the temptation to engage in expedient, simplistic responses to the complex circumstances that are the result of a long history of inaction by government leaders. We beg you to refrain from imposing quick, coercive fixes that do not address the underlying historic causes behind the current tensions in our Indigenous communities. In contrast, we call for decisive action by government leaders to address the historic injustices and grievances of our Indigenous peoples.

We appeal to government leaders to take the following actions:

  • Publicly recognize that the recent blockades and the conflicts that precipitated them are the result of decades of government inaction and neglect of our relationship with Indigenous peoples
  • Renew relationships with Indigenous leaders and in good faith build bridges of reconciliation with Indigenous communities across the country
  • Negotiate in good faith with Wet’suwet’en Indigenous leaders and all Indigenous communities to resolve the underlying issues regarding the right of Indigenous self-determination and Aboriginal title
  • Respect the rule of law and implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including recognition of Indigenous legal orders, free prior and informed consent, and land reparations
  • Respond to the current crisis with peaceful and nonviolent actions that build trust, support reconciliation and initiates steps towards resolution of the historic injustices that have been imposed on Indigenous peoples

As Mennonites, we commit to personal engagement with this important work of reconciliation and pledge to support our government leaders in this task. We respectfully remind our political leaders that “quick fixes” will come back to haunt all of us who live together on this land and will simply result in creating more problems. These were painful lessons that we learned at Oka and Ipperwash.

We acknowledge with deep concern that blockades cause extreme economic hardship for many people, families and businesses across Canada. At the same time, we as Canadians need to recognize the extreme social and economic hardship that we have frequently inflicted on our Indigenous brothers and sisters. We believe that peaceful, nonviolent responses based on reconciliation and good faith will have the greatest impact in addressing the current crisis and renewing a just relationship with our Indigenous peoples. We must recognize that the current crisis is generations in the making and will not be solved quickly. Patience, courage, integrity and a commitment to reconciliation are the leadership responses that will most effectively address the current circumstances.

We invite our government leaders to embrace this call to reconciliation and act with courage and decisiveness for the sake of Indigenous-Settler reconciliation and the health of the Canadian economy. Lasting peace and prosperity for all will only come through peaceful actions that foster trust and a renewed partnership with Indigenous peoples. In the spirit of reconciliation, Mennonites call on our political representatives to commit to nation-to-nation dialogue and to seek the long term welfare of all Canadians.


Sincerely,


Members of the Mennonite Church Eastern Canada Truth and Reconciliation Working Group


Local Organizations, Resources and People

Healing for the Seven Generations 
MISSION - The Healing of the Seven Generations is healing from the past, where the waters were not calm, the people just cried, where the children became broken and lost. Where the children were stolen from their families. Healing of the Seven Generations is a place that provides calmer waters. Life in the future is spiritual, and healing has taken place, from between the wings of the Creator above for the men, the women, the youth, and the children. Guiding our People from the past, into today, and wholehearted for the future.


Anishnabeg Outreach 
The DREAM - A centralized space for Indigenous people to grow, learn and to be a beacon for future generations. A place where we involve the entire person – including their families and their connections. Before moving on to our dreams, it is important to remember and reflect on our roots and our growth

Mary Anne Caibaiosai 
Water Walk Leader

Wilfrid Laurier University - Indigenous Initiatives and Services

Wilfrid Laurier University - Centre for Indigegogy

University of Waterloo - St Paul’s Indigenous Student Centre

University of Waterloo - Reconciliation: Discussions and Implications of Settler peoples in Canada
a 10 week course

Conestoga College Aboriginal Services
Be-Dah-Bin Gamik, a Place of New Beginnings, provides services for Aboriginal students at Conestoga College, including those who are First Nations (status and non-status), Metis and Inuit. It is a warm, welcoming and comfortable environment that assists students with a smooth transition to college life by providing ongoing student support.

Region of Waterloo - Public Health report on First Nations health in the Region

APTN - Aboriginal Peoples Television Network

CBC - CBC Indigenous News

GLOBAL News - GLOBAL First Nations News

Huffington Post - Huffington Post Aboriginal News