Former Anglican Primate Michael Peers apologized on behalf of the national Church for suffering inflicted on Aboriginal children in residential schools operated by the Anglican Church. The apology took place at a National Native Convocation in Minaki,  Ontario, on August 6, 1993

A ceremonial "Sacred Walk" from the Vancouver School of Theology to the Museum of Anthropology on the University of BC campus will take place in early March as part of a cross-country tour designed to introduce Anglicans to a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that will deal with the history of Indian Residential Schools.

The Government of Canada is expected to name  the three commissioners who will serve on the TRC and announce its plans for five years of work.

Establishment of the Commission was part of the $4-billion settlement agreement reached between the federal government, the churches involved in running residential schools, and the Assembly of First Nations. It is designed to give voice to survivors of Indian Residential Schools and call on ordinary Canadians to listen and respond.

To prepare for the journey of truth telling and reconciliation, the United, Anglican, and Presbyterian Churches, in cooperation with the Assembly of First Nations, are participating a series of media, educational, and symbolic events to take place from March 1 to 9 in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Toronto, and possibly Saskatoon.  The cross-country tour is also being billed as a "Sacred Walk."

Each stop along the Sacred Walk is being sponsored by a different denomination, and will involve daytime events and an evening forum. The Anglican Church is sponsoring the stop in Vancouver on Wednesday, March 5.

The Anglican Primate, the Most Rev. Fred Hiltz, and the national Indigenous Anglican bishop, the Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald, will represent the Anglican Church of Canada alongside the moderators of the United and Presbyterian Churches and Aboriginal leaders.

Their presence in Vancouver will coincide with a meeting of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, and the annual conference of the Canadian Theological Students Association.  An evening forum will likely take place at the Museum of Anthropology.

The evening forum will remind those present of the history of residential schools through video clips and shared accounts of past involvement from the perspective of Churches and Aboriginal leaders.

It will also recall the 1993 apology when Anglican primate Michael Peers acknowledged our church's wrongdoing in the Indian Residential Schools system.

It will explain the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and point to present and future initiatives of Churches and Aboriginals to bring about justice, healing, and reconciliation.

Esther Wesley, Indigenous Healing Fund Coordinator

Esther Wesley, Indigenous Healing Fund Coordinator, and Maylanne Maybee, the Ecojustice Networks Coordinator, have been serving on an ecumenical planning team to plan for the Sacred Walk.  A Vancouver planning team is being formed with leadership from the Rev. Margaret Cornish and the Rev. Martin Brokenleg.

In addition to an evening forum, the planning team is giving consideration to a local media strategy, including radio or television appearances; to a half day Human Rights Workshop featuring the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and to a reception with members of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples and the Canadian Theological Students Conference.

Wesley emphasizes that "we should not forget that the Truth Commission is primarily about the stories of children," children placed in a misguided system designed to provide education and enlightenment, who often experienced instead fear, isolation, disease, abuse, death, and even anonymity after death.

Robert Watts, the interim director of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, at a gathering at St. John's Church Ottawa in December 2007, expressed a concern about whether non-Aboriginals can handle the truth about the abuses that happened in Canada's Indian residential schools.

At the same event, Bishop MacDonald said he views the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a "doorway" and "an opportunity for us to acknowledge the truth." When asked what parishes could do to help in the healing and reconciliation process, he quoted the words of Aboriginal elders when asked the same question: "Walk with us."

Archbishop Hiltz, in his New Year's Day sermon in Ottawa, repeated the words of the 1993 apology:

"I know how often you have heard words which have been empty because they have not been accompanied by actions. I pledge to you my best efforts and the efforts of our church at the national level, to walk with you along the path of God's healing.”