On Saturday April 2, 2022, 40+ parishioners from two White Rock parishes; St. Mark’s, Ocean Park and the Church of the Holy Trinity gathered to listen, to learn and to discern their roles on the journey towards Truth and Reconciliation. This gathering was the third in a series of four events co-sponsored by the two parishes.
The first gathering, October of 2021, explored the “Doctrine of Discovery”, a video made by the Anglican Church of Canada as a response to the 94 Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation report. The documentary provided insights and education into the racist foundations of many property laws still in existence today. The second gathering in February 2022 featured author Lynda Gray who presented on her book, “First Nations 101: Lots of stuff you need to know about First Nations people.” Lynda Gray is a member of the Tsimshian Nation and the Gisbutwada Clan (Killerwhale). Many attendees expressed their astonishment at learning from Lynda how governance systems dismantled traditional structures, how indigenous economies were obliterated, and how residential schools tore families apart, to mention but a few of the themes raised by participants.
The third gathering convened on Saturday April 2, 2022, at Church of the Holy Trinity. The themes presented were in two parts. Part one focused on “The Indian Act” with the showing of a TV Ontario interview of Bob Joseph, author of “21 Things you may not know about the Indian Act.” Bob Joseph explained that the Indian Act has dictated and constrained the lives and opportunities of Indigenous Peoples with laws such as: the imposition of the elected chief and band council system; the denial of status for women and the renaming of individuals with European names, to mention just three in a list of oppressive colonial fiats. Following the twenty-minute video, Kerry Baisley, ODNW (Missioner for Indigenous Justice for the Diocese of New Westminster) facilitated a discussion on the issues that Bob Joseph raised.
After a refreshment break, part two offered a glimpse into the infamous ‘Sixties Scoop.” Participants watched a portion of “Birth of a Family,” the National Film Board of Canada’s documentary featuring three sisters and a brother who meet in middle aga for the first time. Removed from their young Dene mother during the sixties scoop, the siblings were separated and lived with different families across North America. Kerry Baisley facilitated a discussion on the film. The video had a profound impact on the gathering, many of whom had never heard of such cruelty and were shocked that it was part of our history.
The fourth gathering will be on Saturday June 18 at 1:30-4:30pm at St. Mark’s, Ocean Park. This event is free of charge and all are welcome.
All photos by H.H. Shieh except where noted.