Residential school survivor Isabelle Knockwood led a sharing circle with participants from Canadian Maritime churches and members of the community during a reconciliation event at John Calvin Christian Reformed Church in Truro, Nova Scotia.
Michelle Nieviadomy and Harold Roscher of the Edmonton Native Healing Centre listen during the “It Matters to Me” reconciliation event at John Calvin CRC.
“It Matters to Me” was a follow-up event to the 2011 Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission stop in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where the general public was invited to hear stories of Indian residential school survivors as part of healing and reconciliation.
Mike Hogeterp of the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue in Ottawa said that “people were listening deeply and respectfully and resonated with the call to reconciliation more deeply.” He said that the CRC Canadian Aboriginal Ministries Committee and the Centre for Public Dialogue hope to support similar events across the country. “We would like to encourage all Canadians to embrace our responsibility for reconciliation,” he said.
Rev. Terry LeBlanc, a Mi'kmaq-Acadien theologian and director of the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies, was the plenary speaker. The Blanket Exercise, a visual demonstration of the history of Native and European relationships in Canada, opened up a time of rich discussion.
Other highlights included a workshop on indigenous gifts to the church, hymn singing, and the sharing circle. Surrounding participants in the sanctuary was the artwork of Kisemanito Pakitinasuwin called “The Creator’s Sacrifice.”