WINNIPEG, Man.—Twenty-six attendees spent the evening of March 19, 2022, interacting and listening to learn about the history of our Indigenous communities in Canada and the impact of contact with white settlers/Europeans who came to live in this great land.
Kerry Saner Harvey (MCC Indigenous Neighbours program) lead us through the exercise, Elder Karen Jolly shared insights, and attendees responded. We learned about treaties made and broken, land taken, custom and culture and language denied, and children separated from their families to attend residential schools or placed in foster care. Indigenous Peoples welcomed the first Europeans, offering to share their land. But over time they came to be treated like unwelcome foreigners. Efforts by our government and the church created much pain and suffering to our Indigenous communities.
We also learned there is hope for change and reconciliation. We can work together. We can admit where we have harmed our Indigenous neighbours and work toward change. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has spoken of education as one of the important steps to lead us to lasting change, understanding, reconciliation and community.
Luke 10:27 says, “‘Love the Lord your God…’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” May we attempt to follow these words as we move toward action. The hope of the event planning committee is to see many more EMC church families participate in a blanket exercise in the future—to learn, to grow, to be saddened, and to have hope and demonstrate God’s love to all.
– Norm Hiebert, Fort Garry EMC
On behalf of the planning committee
The event planning committee consists of Kerry Saner Harvey (MCCMB Indigenous Neighbours), Norm Hiebert (Fort Garry EMC), Jennifer Kornelsen (Many Rooms Church Community) and Verna Reitmeier (St. Vital EMC).