Indigenous-Settler Relations

Indigenous-Settler Relations helps Mennonite communities grow in our awareness of host peoples and the realities of settler colonialism, and nurture justice-based friendships. Our aim is to honour the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and live into the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as we pursue the costly path of Christ.

Mennonite Church Canada's Indigenous-Settler Relations program works to support interested congregations and regional working groups through prayerful dialogue, sharing of educational and financial resources, and collective action. We help connect constituent communities to Indigenous and settler persons, teachers, theological and social justice organizations that can be of help, and who are interested in pursuing peace and justice together.

Critical to this work is Indigenous theological learning - theology not simply for native peoples, but for non-natives too. The Mennonite expression of Christian faith is beautiful and has incredible strengths, but it’s been deeply impacted by colonial thinking and practices. Together, we need to re-think aspects of settler Christianity to discover a gospel that is more faithful to both host people and this “home and native” land that we share. 

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ISR News

Events

Be it Resolved Challenge

June 1

This June, during Indigenous Peoples History Month, we are launching the Be It Resolved Challenge! We invite members of our Mennonite Church Canada family to reflect on the profound commitments that our community of faith has made to Indigenous justice over the last 50 years and to respond, in turn, with our very own resolutions. What those resolutions will be, no one knows at this point. Each of us will discern in conversation with Christ, the text, and the many friends who have decided to join this journey. Perhaps one will resolve

  • To take a first step in one’s learning journey by centering Indigenous authors in one’s reading;
  • To follow up a church resolution on Treaties, or the Doctrine of Discovery, or on Racism, and see how can you help it along;
  • To craft a song of justice and prayer of lament that can help the church worship in these home and native lands;
  • To link arms with an Indigenous group right there in your community that is seeking to address long-standing inequities.

Through a prayerful reading of these largely forgotten church covenants, spurred on by the bold witness of the past, we may be moved, beyond our fears, to make our own promises “to do right.” In so doing, we will not only grow in what some call “political holiness,” but we will also help the larger Body put flesh on many good words that long to become deeds.  

Courageous conversation is a big part of this work. To foster deeper understanding and break down walls that keep us apart, we explore basic, but critical questions:

  • Do we know the host people in the particular lands in which we live?
  • What kinds of histories and present relationships do we have? and why?
  • How does colonialism continue to shape and impact the Indigenous-Settler relationship?
  • How do we respectfully connect and centre the priorities of suffering peoples?
  • What are the issues – ‘our’ issues – that keep us apart and need “undoing”?
  • How can we learn from Indigenous strengths and walk in joyful solidarity?

 In all things, the hope of Indigenous-Settler Relations is reconciliation. Reconciliation is a huge word, easily used and abused by the Church. Yet through relationships of growing integrity, we hope to walk a little further towards this dream.

Ideas & feedback

Indigenous-Settler Relations would love to hear your ideas, wisdom, and dreams related to the work that we are doing, and what we could do to strengthen it. Please send your thoughts to Steve Heinrichs.

Email Steve Heinrichs