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Dear friends, 

At the end of 2023 the Yellowhead Institute, which monitors progress on the 94 Calls to Action from the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission, issued a report saying that in 2023 no Calls to Action were complete. Their report noted that “there are limits to how many times you can write a report about how Canada, once again, has failed to make any meaningful progress.” They noted that there are five main challenges to reconciliation.  

  • Paternalism 
  • Structural anti-Indigenous discrimination  
  • Reconciliation as exploitation or performance 
  • Insufficient resources  
  • The economic interests and apathy of non-Indigenous People  

I read this report with shame as I know that I am part of the reason so little progress is being made. It is easier to write reports and talk about reconciliation than to do reconciliation.  

In this issue of Faith Tides you will hear from Marvin Underwood. Marvin was awarded the Order of the Diocese of British Columbia in 2023 for his extraordinary service to the church in building bridges between the cultural ways of Indigenous Peoples and Holy Trinity, North Saanich. In Holy Week, Marvin chose to return his Order as he felt that while he had been faithful to the church, the church had not been faithful to him.  

I am deeply humbled by Marvin’s words and actions.   

I would ask for your help in advocating for Marvin and for all day school Survivors. Having been dehumanized and abused by the schools themselves, the Survivors, like Marvin, are now being dehumanized by the very process that is meant to compensate them. As you can read in the interview with Marvin (and in the CBC news link below) the process employed was not humane, trauma-informed, culturally sensitive or even practical (asking for paperwork that is impossible to obtain).  

Below you will find a letter from me, co-signed by Archbishop Linda Nicholls and Archbishop Chris Harper, calling for the day school settlement agreement to be reopened. Please join me in writing similar letters to Minister Anandasangaree, Prime Minister Trudeau and your own elected representatives.