Three years ago, the President of our national organization, the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC), and the President of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada delivered a solemn commitment at the ceremonies marking the end of the formal sessions of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The Commission was formed to acknowledge and bring to light the the lasting affects of the Canadian Residential School System.
The UU statement read in part:
“We, the Canadian Unitarian Council and the Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada, commit to the journey of healing and reconciliation between Canadian Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal people. Today, as we acknowledge and accept our responsibility for truth-telling, healing and reconciliation, we commit to these specific steps to advance that journey:
1) To assemble and promote educational materials for our congregations regarding the history and impact of the Indian Residential School system.
2) To create and promote a new program for congregations about racial equity and intercultural competency.
3) To continue to encourage our congregations and their members to learn more about the richness of Aboriginal spirituality and cultures, working together to advance the struggle for justice for Aboriginal peoples.
We must learn from these travesties, as well as from the strength, courage, honesty, resilience and success of those who survived the Indian Residential School system. We have asked our congregations across Canada to read this statement. We want you to know we walk with you.”
This month, we grapple with the deeper meaning of reconciliation. What does this mean for us as individuals, for us as a country? The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada defined reconciliation as “coming to terms with events of the past in a manner that overcomes conflict and establishes a respectful and healthy relationship among people going forward.” Let’s explore what reconciliation can mean in our lives and in UCM’s relationship with indigenous people and the land.
Our property lies on the territory of the Mississauga New Credit First Nation, and was one of the last pieces of land to be taken over by the Crown in the nineteenth century.
Let your heart be opened. Let your life be moved to take some meaningful action. May we take a significant step forward this month in our understanding of what it means to be a reconciling people.
Find information about upcoming activities at the Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga here.