June 6, 2021
It has been just over a week since the discovery of the bodies of 215 Indigenous children at the site of former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Our hearts are broken. Those of our Indigenous siblings, shattered.
I lament that our church was involved in the sinful system of the Residential Schools and the sinful systems that gave rise to them. We seek God’s judgement, without which there can be no healing, no forgiveness, on all of those living and dead, who dishonoured or continue to dishonour others. We have known for some time that children were missing and that many were buried unnamed on the school properties. And yet, so many of us have not given enough attention to the truths told by the survivors of the residential schools. If we are surprised by the discovery of these precious children of God, we have not been listening well. I invite you to join with me in listening deeply, to the voices of the survivors, of their children and their grandchildren. Not only to the hear the truth of what has happened but to learn what we can do now to walk alongside one another toward truth, reconciliation and healing.
I invite you to listen to these (and other) indigenous voices:
The Honourable Murray Sinclair, former Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (here)
Archbishop Mark McDonald, National Indigenous Archbishop, Anglican Church of Canada (here)
The Venerable Rosalyn Kantlaht'ant Elm, Archdeacon for Reconciliation and Indigenous Ministries for the Diocese of Huron (here)
I ask your prayers for all Indigenous communities and peoples of Turtle Island but especially for those who are our Anglican siblings in this Diocese; the clergy and parishioners of:
St. John the Baptist, Walpole Island
St. Andrew’s, Muncey
The Parish of the Six Nations (St. Luke's, Oswe’ge; St. Peter's, Oswe’ge; St. Paul's, Sour Springs; Christ Church, Oswe’ge; St. John's Chapel of Ease, Oswe’ge)
St. Peter’s, Moraviantown
I ask you to join me in committing to working with the Indigenous communities to look at the Anglican residential schools, particularly the Mohawk Institute—to shine God’s truth-seeking light everywhere we can, especially in our archives, and to do everything in our power to identify the children buried in unmarked graves and to reveal the burial places of those yet unknown. While we trust that these children are safe in the arms of the Creator, we also need to do all that we can to bring them home to their families.
May God have mercy on us. May God give us ears to hear and hearts to act.
Bishop of Huron