A Message from Toronto Urban Native Ministry:
Peace be with you,
I pray this finds you and your loved ones ok in this difficult time.
This has been a time of tremendous grief and loss in many of our families and extended communities. We extend our hearts to you for those you have lost this year. Our team at Right Relations and Toronto Urban Native Ministry have been frontline in supporting community members as they face the ongoing challenges of the impacts of the incarceration of Indigenous children and youth in “Indian Residential Schools” (IRS), “Indian Hospitals,” “Indian Day Schools,” and other IRS legacy institutions. Since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of 2015, many Indigenous Nations have had to personally fundraise to research undocumented graves at IRS institutions. Some of our community members are from communities such as Cowessess First Nation. Cowessess First Nation has a population of 4,295 Saulteaux people. In June 2021 Cowessess First Nation researched and announced finding 751 unmarked graves at the Marieval Indian Residential School, run by the Catholic Church and the government of Canada from 1898-1997, despite over a century of resistance by Cowessess First Nation.
This overwhelming and devastating loss of young life is genocide; the wounds of such violence run deep and continue to impact our community members, many of whom have never been compensated for the horrors forced upon them. As Christians living on Indigenous land we are called to a fulsome repentance for our Anglican and Christian kin’s participation in harm and oppression of Indigenous Nations, clans, ceremonies, governance, lifeways, languages and families. Over the years we have observed Orange Shirt Day, following the lead of Survivors and their families. We recognize that September 30th is now set aside nationally as a day for Truth and Reconciliation. I invite you to observe this acknowledgement in your communities through these invitations to solidarity:
Shining Light on the Indian Residential School Legacy:
An Evening of Teaching with Sandra Campbell
Sept. 29, 2021, 7-8:30 p.m. EST
Join Toronto Urban Native Ministry for an evening of song, prayer, and teaching on what is known as the Indian Residential School Legacy, which includes institutions such as “Indian Hospitals” and “Indian Day School.” Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance at www.tunm.ca. Proceeds will go towards the Toronto Urban Native Ministry’s Survivor support programming and the Save the Evidence Campaign, which is an Indigenous led initiative to preserve and investigate the grounds of the Mohawk Institute, an Anglican-run Residential School in Southern Ontario.
For Survivors and Inter-Generational Survivors of IRS and legacy institutions
Are you a Survivor or intergenerational Survivor of Residential School or the Residential School legacy? You and your family are invited to a Healing Gathering in Allan Gardens park (Gerrard and Sherbourne, Toronto) on September 30th at 2pm. There will be a traditional feast, ceremony, dancing, and cultural practices to support the healing process. This event for Survivors is being organized by Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction, please email email@example.com for more information.
IRS Survivors, Inter-Generational Survivors, and their families are invited to participate in a quilt making project to have their voices heard. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to receive art supplies to participate in this project.
Every Child is Sacred: Send in your “selfies” and raise awareness on social media
Every year on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation/Orange Shirt Day (September 30th) we wear orange to raise awareness about Indian Residential School (IRS) and the genocide against Indigenous families and Nations. Please upload to this Google Drive folder (Orange Shirt Day Selfies- 2021) or email diocesan Right Relations Coordinator Leigh Kern (email@example.com) “selfies” from your community members wearing orange and/or holding a sign of solidarity, if you would like your selfie to be featured on the Toronto Urban Native Ministry Facebook page and possibly in The Anglican.
Your signs of solidarity may include statements such as: “Every Child is Sacred,” “we name and confess the genocide against Indigenous children and families,” or “Every Child Matters.” Share your selfies on your social media outlets and use the following hashtags to raise awareness: #noprideingenocide #everychildmatters
To learn more about Orange Shirt Day and Phyllis Webstad’s story please visit the Orange Shirt Day website.
Prayer for those Who Did not Return Home from Residential School and for all Missing and Murdered Indigenous People
By Toronto Urban Native Ministry
Let us pray,
We hold close to our hearts today those whose absence leaves a gap too great for words. We hold to our hearts and grieve those beautiful lives cut short by colonial violence.
For the thousands of children who did not return home from residential school,
For the many Indigenous people who are missing, or taken from us,
May love surround them.
May love circle those who miss them from their circles of love, family, and community. May love empower and encourage us to act with compassion, understanding, and peace.
Peace and dignity to all beings, of earth, sky, and sea.
We lament the violence at every level of Canadian society.
May we all listen and follow the leadership of the families in this time of reckoning and calls for justice.
May the chains of violence in hearts and communities be healed at their deepest roots.
We hold close to our hearts the tears of so many, and the dead who lay in the earth.
We commit ourselves to praying, listening, being in relationship, speaking, and acting for the healing of the generations past and generations to come. Creator of life- unleash the healing of your love in this land. In the spirit of the Creator who is with us now, Amen.