Thursday, January 17, 2013

John Bird Gathers Christian Responses to Idle No More

Received from John Bird...

Sent to all on the Living Into Right Relations email list. Please share widely.

Hello Friends:

It seems to have come to this, I am sending digests now. My apologies for the volume of information of late. There is an embarrassment of riches out there these days, and I feel/hope that each piece I forward is another important shard contributing to the larger mosaic picture. I try to make sure the Indigenous voice is prominent among the pieces I share, although not exclusive.

There is also an embarrassment of poor and misleading coverage out there in the mainstream media, so we are doing our best to counterbalance that by sharing what we feel are the best. I'm hoping to slow it down a bit as we go forward, as I feel anyone who has managed to read even most of what I've been forwarding should now have a good understanding and background to interpret developments as they occur. Any comments you wish to make about these thoughts will be appreciated.

The members of this email list are primarily, although no longer entirely, Christians (most, but not all, being members of The United Church of Canada). Certainly the impetus for setting up this list, and for continuing it, comes out of a faith tradition that calls us to love because God first loved us, to love kindness, do justice and walk humbly with our Creator, and to love our neighbours as ourselves. It also comes out of a recognition that we need to redeem our history as a church that has erred in linking its identity with imperialist and colonizing powers, and has done some terribly wrong-headed and harmful things as a result.

That faith and understanding underlies our work and commitment, but we don't often make it explicit. Perhaps not often enough.

So today, I share with you two articles, by two Sarahs, that do explicitly enunciate their own Christian responses to this current situation, plus another prepared by Indigenous leaders with the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies.

The first is by Sarah Shepherd, who toiled amongst us for a number of years in Partners in Mission, in the United Church's national offices, and is currently communications coordinator for Citizens for Public Justice in Ottawa;

The second comes from the magazine Christian Week, and was prepared by: Terry LeBlanc (Mi'kmaq/Acadian), Adrian Jacobs (Cayuga), Wendy Peterson (Metis) Shari Russell (Saulteaux), Ray Aldred (Cree), Richard Twiss (Lakota), Randy Woodley (Keetoowah) and Andrea Smith (Cherokee), all with the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies. Adrian Jacobs, it should be noted, now serves as Keeper of the Circle (principal) of the United Church's Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre:

The third is by a lower-mainland British Columbia blogger named Sarah Bessey (you can read more about her on her website):

And finally, this link will take you to a summary of key points raised by the National Chief and the Prime Minister at their meeting on January 11, 2013, and commitments made by both sides. It comes courtesy of BC-based Ha-Shilth-Sa, Canada's oldest First Nations newspaper:


John Bird, Program Coordinator
Aboriginal Justice and Right Relations
United Church of Canada


  1. Thank you, John! This is really thoughtful adn helpful, and I'm honoured that my modest contribution would be included here.
    Sarah Shepherd

  2. The links as they stand at the moment on John's post don't work.

    If you hover over the links you will see what I mean.

    The first one for instance goes to:

    which then would reuire a log in ...

    Any chance of sorting these out?