I work for the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton as part of the Indigenous Ministry team. Those of you who have seen a picture of me might think that is a bit odd. What is a white woman settler doing as part of that ministry team? It seems God wants me to be part of the reconciliation work of our diocese.
The biggest learning I have had as a settler in Canada is that I know or knew next to nothing about the Indigenous history of this country. I didn’t know anything about the treaties, I didn’t know how the doctrine of discovery had affected how European settlers dealt with the First Peoples of this land. I learned that I needed/need to listen.
To listen to survivors of Indian Residential Schools again, again and again. To listen to Indigenous friends share their stories of being affected by racism with me. To listen to Indigenous leaders tell me and others that their communities need to lead the way. To listen to God speaking through all of this, that this is part of the work of reconciliation, that is the work of the kingdom of God.
So I listen and I listen. I urge others to listen. As a country we need to listen. As a church we need to listen. For it is from listening that we will begin to understand the horror and the pain. For it is from listening that we will, all of us, Indigenous and settler, work on healing and move to reconciliation.