Joint ELCIC Bishops’ Letter: A Renewed Call to Reconciliation

June 1, 2021
A Renewed Call to Reconciliation

It has been devastating and heartbreaking to hear in the news that the remains of 215 children buried in unmarked graves have been found on the Kamloops Indian Residential School grounds.

We invite all members across the ELCIC to join us in offering our heartfelt empathy and prayers for the families of those children, for the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, for the City of Kamloops and for First Nations Communities across Canada as they grieve this loss. Let us offer solidarity, support and care to all who are feeling grief, anger, trauma and the need for healing. Please join us in praying for comfort and peace.

News about undocumented deaths of our nation’s Indigenous children is tragic. Yet, as Richard Jock, CEO of the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) said, “[it] is sadly not a surprise and illustrates the damaging and lasting impacts that the residential school system continues to have on First Nations people, their families and communities.” This is further proof of the sinful and abusive legacy of these schools —schools in which the church and government were active participants.

The remains of these children show us the depth of our systemic racism and the lengths that the dominant culture was willing to go in order to destroy another culture. Many of us can connect our ancestors to the history of the dominant culture. Knowledge of this cruel history is something that demands our repentance, but also asks us to faithfully work for a better and different future.

We name today the devastating and ongoing cultural, emotional, and spiritual impact that residential schools continue to have on Indigenous peoples.

Read the entire letter: 2021 06 01 A Renewed Call to Reconciliation

The letter references the following resources for further learning and action:

If you are looking for further resources, please consider the following:
2011 ELCIC Convention Resolution on Encouraging Right Relationships with Indigenous Peoples
2015 ELCIC Convention Resolution repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery
The Anglican Church of Canada 2019 Apology for Spiritual Harm
Anglican Church of Canada Reconciliation Toolkit
Indigenous Ministries award winning film Doctrine of Discovery: Stolen lands, Strong Hearts
The KAIROS Blanket Exercise
The TRC Calls to Action

Additionally, Ruperts’ Land Indigenous Ministry is hosting an upcoming event for further learning.