“We must be mindful that a process that will be as long and complicated as the reconciliation of seven generations of inequity will require stewardship, study and ongoing attention.” Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Commissioner Marie Wilson
Of the 94 TRC calls to action, calls 59 -61 were specifically addressed to churches. They are:
“Church Apologies and Reconciliation
58. We call upon the Pope to issue an apology to Survivors, their families, and communities for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children in Catholic-run residential schools. We call for that apology to be similar to the 2010 apology issued to Irish victims of abuse and to occur within one year of the issuing of this Report and to be delivered by the Pope in Canada.
59. We call upon church parties to the Settlement Agreement to develop ongoing education strategiesto ensure that their respective congregations learn about their church’s role in colonization, the history and legacy of residential schools, and why apologies to former residential school students, their families, and communities were necessary.
60. We call upon leaders of the church parties to the Settlement Agreement and all other faiths, in collaboration with Indigenous spiritual leaders, Survivors, schools of theology, seminaries, and other religious training centres, to develop and teach curriculum for all student clergy, and all clergy andstaff who work in Aboriginal communities, on the need to respect Indigenous spirituality in its own right, the history and legacy of residential schools and the rolesof the church parties in that system, the history and legacy of religious conflict in Aboriginal families and communities, and the responsibility that churches have to mitigate such conflicts and prevent spiritual violence.
61. We call upon church parties to the Settlement Agreement, in collaboration with Survivors and representatives of Aboriginal organizations, to establish permanent funding to Aboriginal people for:
i. Community-controlled healing and reconciliation projects.
ii. Community-controlled culture- and language- revitalization projects.
iii. Community-controlled education and relationship- building projects.
iv. Regional dialogues for Indigenous spiritual leaders and youth to discuss Indigenous spirituality, self- determination, and reconciliation. “
Our path forward in the Territory of the People sits on our history of St. George’s Anglican residential school in Lytton and other residential schools run by the Roman Catholic church in Kamloops and Williams Lake.
It sits on the discovery of 215 graves of children in Kamloops and on the expected discovery of graves in Lytton. It sits on our history of dissolving the Diocese of Cariboo to make reparation and then our journey through being the Parishes of the Central Interior and now the Territory of the People.
This history is described more fully elsewhere in this document. We continue to learn from, and be guided by, our Pastoral Elders. We have a long way to go, and our path is different across the Territory, but we are on a journey and continue to work for reconciliation and healing.
We use funds from the general income of the Territory, grants from the National church through the Council of the North, and a yearly grant from the New England Company in the UK to fund our ministry with Indigenous communities. Our new bishop will need to work collaboratively with clergy, pastoral elders, and parishioners to continue identifying where ministry is needed and what the shape of that ministry should be. Grant proposal writing is a necessary skill to maintain our funding of this vital ministry. We have invested some financial support from the Territory ministry fund to have an additional pastoral presence in Lytton and area.
We expect our new bishop to take time to be with the elders and learn from and hear the history. We hope our new bishop will commit to spending time regularly with a Council of Elders. We desire they would also take a language course offered through continuing education by Thompson River University in Kamloops and become familiar with one of the local languages.