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Walking the Path to Truth and Reconciliation in Saskatchewan

   

July 15, 2011
-Renata Klassen, Moderator, Mennonite Church Saskatchewan

Saskatoon, SASK. — The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) national events began in July 2010 at The Forks in Winnipeg. The goal of this process, which will be ongoing for a number of years, is to hear and work for healing of the legacy of pain left by Canada’s Indian Residential Schools.

In the summer of 2013, the TRC will come to Saskatchewan. We as Mennonite Church Saskatchewan have committed ourselves to preparing for this meeting through a process which we are calling “Our Shared Path”. The first step along that path occurred at our  annual delegate session in North Battleford on March 18 and 19, 2011.

But it is only the first step. We plan to be intentional and deliberate as we continue to walk this path.

June 21 is Aboriginal Day in Canada. There will be events planned by First Nations in or near our communities. These are open to all. Let us heed the invitations and participate.

In late August there will be a celebration of the 135th anniversary of the signing of Treaty Six on Stoney Knoll, near the town of Laird. This location has a very special significance; it was the location of a reserve granted to the Young Chippewayan Band. This reserve was taken from that group within a few years of being granted to them, and it was added to a reserve for Mennonite settlers. Since then, most of the land has been farmed by Mennonite and Lutheran settlers. The August event is being jointly planned by representatives of First Nations and local Lutheran and Mennonite churches.

The second Spruce River Folk Fest will be held on August 27th just north of Prince Albert. This event is a fundraiser is in support of the genealogical project that will help the Young Chippewayan band prove they are an "identifiable community" to the Indian Claims Commission, a necessary step in reclaiming their land. Mennonite Central Committee Saskatchewan and Mennonite Church Saskatchewan are sponsors, along with the Grace Mennonite Church in Prince Albert.

A planning committee representing Mennonite Church Saskatchewan, Mennonite Central Committee Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Mennonite Historical Society, and Mennonite Church Canada continues to meet to define other steps on this path. A brochure with some of the plans is available from the MC Sask office (10A-301 Pakwa Place, Saskatoon; phone 306- 249-4844; email mcsask@mcsask.ca.)

As future events emerge, regular updates of this brochure are planned. We invite others – individuals, congregations and denominations – to join us as we walk the path to truth and reconciliation together.