Summer 2022  right relations work update

June 23, the Living Skies Executive approved $5,000 to support a culture camp on Cote First Nation, planned by survivors of St Philip’s Residential School who have formed a cooperative, Kici Anishinabek Kananakachiwewat, to support language, culture, and healing work. In the past, the United Church had a community of faith on Cote First Nation; prior to Union in 1925, the Presbyterian Church ran Crowstand Residential School until 1915, and then the institution became the Cote Federal Day School, which ran between 1916 and 1940. Thank you to Gwen Reilkoff and Susan Bear at Westminster Memorial UC in Kamsack for their support and presence as we share in ecumenical and local/ Regional commitments to this journey with the elders and survivors.

In August, we expect our Regional Council will again have the opportunity to be present with Okanese First Nation at their annual feast remembering the children who were sent to File Hills residential school and beyond. The feast is generally held the third Friday in August. If you would like to join the group attending, please contact Julie Graham at  Many thanks to Sue Bland for her leadership and wisdom through many years of this important commitment, and to all who have joined in this act of remembering and re-commitment over those years. And above all, thank you to the people of Okanese for giving us the space to carry out our responsibilities alongside them, in the sacred space of a traditional feast.

The Executive also approved up to $750 to support a KAIROS Prairies North planned event August 27 focused on land-based truth telling, reconciliation, and decolonization in our families and family histories. Resource people Harry and Germaine Lafond and Elaine Enns and Ched Myers have been invited. More details to come! $200 was also contributed to the May 3 and 5 land acknowledgement for faith communities workshops, which many Living Skies people attended.

The Executive will also look at creating a right relations fund so that the Regional Council can support work closer to home, in addition to the 10% minimum of property sales that is given back to the National Indigenous Council. Our contributions to the national Healing Fund are another way to support Indigenous-led work towards justice, healing, and reclamation. Click here for information on donating.

Finally, thank you to all who responded to the Indigenous church’s call to honour Indigenous Day of Prayer on June 19, and National Indigenous Peoples’ Day June 21. Our next opportunity to live into the Caretakers’ Calls to the Church and the TRC Calls to Action will be Friday September 30, Orange Shirt Day/ National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Please prayerfully consider what public witness and commitments you can offer.