The Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples
I. MANDATE and HISTORY
It has been the philosophy and spirituality of Indigenous ministry with the Anglican Church of Canada to strengthen and support the Indigenous Peoples of Canada, (Aboriginal, Inuit and Metis) spiritually, socially, economically and politically in line with our needs and aspirations by recognizing that the purity of the land base provides for all our needs; and that as active participants in the life of the Church, the Indigenous peoples will strive for reconciliation with the Anglican Communion towards the common objective that Indigenous people have the right to self-determination.
The mission of Indigenous Ministries is to share the cultural differences in the Church. Our task through our various ministries is to share the vision of a journey of spiritual renewal through prayerful dialogue in the good news of Jesus Christ.
Following the 1969 Hendry Report Beyond Traplines commissioned for General Synod, the Sub-Committee on Native Affairs began. The Council (Native Ministries) was established by Act 30 of the 1975 General Synod (maximum 20 people) and again by Act 23 of the 1980 General Synod giving Council members the responsibility to carry the concerns of the people directly to the National Executive Council (Council of General Synod) and General Synod. ACIP is currently made up of 20 Aboriginal, Inuit and Metis, clergy and lay, men and women from fifteen dioceses within the Anglican Church of Canada where thirteen members come from eleven dioceses represented in the Council of the North.
1n 1995, The Anglican Church of Canada accepted and affirmed the Covenant adopted by the Council (1994) pledging, "Under the guidance of God's spirit we agree to do all we can to call our people into unity in a new self-determining community within The Anglican Church of Canada. To this end, we extend the hand of partnership to all those who will help us build a truly Anglican Indigenous Church in Canada. May God bless this new vision and give us grace to accomplish it."
II. CURRENT WORK of ACIP
The work of ACIP within the Priorities of the 1995 Strategic Plan has been diverse and varied. This report highlights our work as a partner in the worldwide Anglican Communion and in the universal church, as we have proclaimed and celebrated the gospel of Jesus Christ in worship and action throughout the last triennium.
Indigenous Anglicans in Canada have been members and partners since 1991 of The Anglican Indigenous Network (AIN), which reports to the Anglican Consultative Council. The Anglican Indigenous Network is comprised of English speaking Indigenous Anglicans; the Maori of Aotearoa New Zealand, the Australian Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, Native Hawaiians, Native Americans from the U.S.A., and the Indigenous Peoples of Canada.
The Network adopted its mission statement in 1992:
We are indigenous minority people living in our own lands. We are committed to the Anglican tradition while affirming our own traditional spirituality. We have discovered that we have many things in common: a common spirituality, common concerns, common gifts, and common hopes. We believe that God is leading the Church to a turning point in its history and that the full partnership of Indigenous peoples is essential. Therefore we pledge to work together to exercise our leadership in contributing our vision and gifts to transform the life of the Christian community.
The ACIP hosted the fourth gathering of AIN in 1997 following the Sacred Circle. We are now making preparations to send a delegation to the sixth gathering in Cairns, North Queensland, Australia in Septemer 2001.
As a member of the Indigenous Theology Training Institute in the USA, the AIN members collectively published, in July 2000, the first volume of the First Peoples Theology Journal (available through ABC). ITTI is a nonprofit institution established in 1996 to provide formation and training for Christian leadership in the Episcopal and Anglican Church among Indigenous people. It offers consultation to dioceses with Native work, on-site leadership training for lay readers, Canon 9 priest aspirants (for Episcopal Church USA), and deacons, as well as seminary scholarships and continuing education courses. It is hoped that the second volume of the Journal will be published this summer.
Each January for the past ten years some members of the ACIP have journeyed to the Seminole territory in Oklahoma to participate in Winter Talk. This gathering, sponsored by the Episcopal Church on Indigenous Ministries, brings together about seventy-five Native people in ministry, lay and ordained, from across the USA. This year we were trained in The Gospel Based Discipleship, a new program developed by the ITTI .
ACIP is also a member of CoNAM (Council of Native American Ministries), an ecumenical consortium of Native American Ministries within Christian denominations (American Baptist, Episcopal, Evangelical Lutheran, Mennonite, Presbyterian, Reformed Church of America, United Church of Christ and United Methodist) that has an office/program that relates to Native Americans/Alaska Natives within the North Americas. CoNAM is in partnership with the National Christian Council of Churches of the USA. The objectives of CoNAM are: to empower Native Americans in the areas of leadership and advocacy; to support the endeavors of Native American ministries; to enable the development of Native American culturally sensitive resources. Through CoNAM, member groups maintain ties for mutual support, information sharing and networking.
Members of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples have participated in consultations and collaborative work with the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee, engaging in theological/liturgical study and growth in understanding.
The Discernment for Ministry task enabled ACIP to participate in the discernment for ministry and theological education with and for Aboriginal Anglicans. A report has been produced by FWM, which was based on experiences of native ministry within different communities, as well as with leaders from native communities, and reflecting with native people on needs in terms of discernment for ministry and theological education. A next step is the translation of the BAS Baptismal Covenant into Indigenous peoples languages.
Indigenous Ministries and FWM continue to collaborate on the development of liturgy and prayer resources for the June 21 National Aboriginal Day of Prayer. Our current joint task is to gather, develop and disseminate material relating to healing and reconciliation.
Indigenous Ministries engages in discussion and activity with ecumenical partners here in Canada through the United Church of Canada's Inter-church and Inter-faith dialogues on Native Spirituality. Through our Anglican Healing Fund we have had some collaboration with the United, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic churches on work in communities regarding healing the legacy of residential schools. The Aboriginal Rights Coalition (ARC) and their networks have been ecumenical partners in our justice work, as outlined below.
From the inception of ACIP, an essential aspect of the work of the Council has been to "encourage the church as a whole to be involved in advocating for justice for indigenous peoples" (Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples -- Terms of Reference).
During the past triennium, the capacity to carry out advocacy work was increased when the position of Indigenous Justice Coordinator was made full-time. The Rev. Catherine Morrison initially filled this position until November 1999, followed by Ms. Chris Hiller after April 2000. In addition, the budget for Indigenous justice work has been increased substantially in 2001.
Efforts were made during this triennium to increase the collaboration between ACIP and the EcoJustice Committee. In March 1999, the ACIP met jointly with the EcoJustice Committee to reflect upon the theme of Jubilee. At this joint meeting, two ACIP members from the Diocese of the Arctic presented information on regional justice issues.
As a central part of its mandate to advocate for justice for Aboriginal peoples, the ACIP continues to support the on-going work of the Aboriginal Rights Coalition (ARC) by sponsoring the participation of its members at ARC national meetings. One ACIP member currently serves on the ARC Executive.
ACIP has continued to monitor and advocate for further government response to the recommendations from the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. At the previous General Synod in 1998, the ACIP put forward resolutions in this regard and appointed members to the working group designed to further the implementation of RCAP recommendations. As an extension of this work, ACIP members have developed an educational event for this General Synod that calls the Church to renounce the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius, as per RCAP Recommendation 1.16.2.
In 1998, the General Synod supported a resolution calling for the recognition of Labrador Métis and their rights as Aboriginal people. Since that time, the relationship with the Labrador Métis Nation (LMN) has been strengthened through the production and circulation of an ARC Insider on LMN issues, and through the participation of Todd Russell as an ACIP member, and most recently, as ACIP co-chair.
The impact of the correctional justice system upon Aboriginal peoples has also been an area of interest, concern, and reflection on the part of ACIP members. In November of 1999, Catherine Morrison attended a conference called by the Federal Department of Corrections to look at Aboriginal issues related to correctional justice. Other issues that were tracked by staff and discussed at ACIP meetings included racism, globalization, and resource depletion.
In September of 2000, the Rt. Rev. Gordon Beardy responded to a call for support from Esgenoopetitj/Burnt Church First Nation by visiting the community. The ACIP contributed towards his travel costs and later issued a press release calling for an end to harassment of the Mi'kmaq fishers and full recognition of their treaty right to fish.
ACIP members also contributed richly to the Anglican Church's reflection and action in relation the call of Jubilee, offering valuable reflections about what Jubilee means in relation to their lives, their communities, and to the Covenant. ACIP members participated in a Jubilee conference organized by the Aboriginal Rights Coalition to consider Aboriginal perspectives on the Jubilee theme. Insights gleaned at this conference were compiled in Indigenous Perspectives on Jubilee, a booklet that was circulated to members of standing committees, councils, and the Jubilee Network. As well, ACIP members attended the Anglican Jubilee conference, Releasing the Vision and served on the Joint Anglican Working Group on Jubilee.
In the third year of Jubilee, ACIP members, as well as diocesan native council members and delegates to the Indigenous Sacred Circle, have participated in the Jubilee Year 3 Land Rights, Right Relations Campaign in a variety of capacities: by giving overall leadership to the Land Rights Campaign through their role on the ARC Executive; by organizing a Jubilee Year 3 panel presentation at the Sacred Circle; by giving leadership to or participating in regional and local land rights workshops; by serving as diocesan contacts for the campaign; and by assisting in organizing a theology roundtable in May of 2001, focusing on Jubilee connections and perspectives on globalization, climate change, and Aboriginal land rights.
In June of 2000, a member and staff of the ACIP participated in an initial exploratory discussion regarding ways to address local expressions of racism and colonialism. Participants at that meeting identified the need for an anti-racism network that could provide support to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who are committed to undoing racism. A follow-up anti-racism gathering to share strategies and resources is currently being planned for the fall of 2001.
In August of 2000, non-Indigenous delegates participated as partners to the Indigenous Sacred Circle in Port Elgin, Ontario. Partners expressed deep gratitude for the warm invitation, and rich learning that they received from the Indigenous people present at the Sacred Circle. Partners also participated in orientation and debriefing sessions, reflecting upon what it means to be 'partners' with Aboriginal peoples within and outside of the Church. Such orientation and sessions will serve as the basis for future partner formation workshops that will prepare non-Indigenous Anglicans to make deeper commitments to living the Covenant and walking in partnership with Aboriginal peoples, both inside and outside of the Church.
In the Working Document: Plan of Anglican work in support of a new partnership between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Anglicans: A NEW AGAPE, the ACIP calls the Anglican Church: To continue and increase the church's work in support of justice for Indigenous Peoples, including land claims, self-determination and treaty negotiations. Much of this work is done ecumenically through the Aboriginal Rights Coalition, which subscribes to the principle that relations between First Nations and the Government of Canada be conducted on a Nation-to-Nation basis.
The Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples and CoN maintain liaisons who attend each Council's meetings twice a year. This partnership relationship is our commitment to working together on issues of ministry, healing, and the Covenant.
This past triennium two days of joint meetings with the national House of Bishops and ACIP have been devoted to education and the ministry we share in Aboriginal communities across Canada. Presentations and dialogues have been focused on our legacy of the residential schools, and we affirmed our commitment to healing and reconciliation. We were graced and blessed by the participation of The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston (President and Dean of Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Mass. and former Bishop of Alaska) who facilitated one of our gatherings.
Indigenous ministries and ACIP members have participated in many synods and consultations providing education and dialogue about the ministry in the Aboriginal communities, the legacy of residential schools, the hope and vision for a spiritual renewal and a desire for understanding and healing have been the focus.
We have provided much information and updates about the activities and these are available on the Website: www.anglican.ca.
Since 1988, Anglican Video has been a tremendous resource in producing for Indigenous Ministries relevant audio/video material that documents our journey as Christians and members of the Anglican Communion. Most of these videos are available through diocesan resource centres: 'Spirit in the Circle', 'Share the Dream', 'Dare to Dream', 'Dancing the Dream', 'The Healing Circle', 'The Seventh Fire', and 'A journey begins with a dream'. Our newest video that documents our journey at the Sacred Circle 2000, Walking a New Vision, will be broadcast at this General Synod.
Since 1988, four national Anglican Indigenous convocations, now known as Sacred Circle have been held: 1988 "Share the Dream", Fort Qu'Appelle, SK.
1993 "Dancing the Dream", Minaki, ON.
1997 "Our Journey of Spiritual Renewal", Lethbridge, AB.
2000 "Walking a New Vision", Port Elgin, ON.
2003 Sacred Circle is anticipated for the Diocese of Brandon, MB.
These national gatherings call us, in partnership, to provide a forum for Aboriginal, Metis and Inuit people of The Anglican Church of Canada to reflect on the Church's ministry and to do some visioning about the future in light of current developments, and to provide a vehicle to empower Indigenous people and to bring their concerns to the attention of national church leaders.
The Sacred Circles have extended opportunities for healing and reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal partners. In the first gathering in '88 the issues of our historical relationship were identified, one being the legacy of the residential schools. At the 1993 gathering, the Apology was made by our Primate, Michael Peers and again the invitation to journey together in the healing ministry. The Covenant vision of 1994, which was affirmed by General Synod in 1995, signaled opportunities for spiritual renewal as Aboriginal people work toward self-determination in the church and strengthening their identity as Indigenous peoples and as Anglicans. The 1997 gathering continued identifying our movements toward healing and the needs for spiritual renewal in our communities. Memories and reflections on the Sacred Circle 2000 can be read on the website.
The Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples has seen growth in the participation of diocesan Indigenous Ministries over the last triennium. We now enjoy hearing news about the events happening in the dioceses. Ten dioceses now have Diocesan Native Councils or Ministries (Cariboo, Qu'Appelle, Brandon, Moosonee, Huron, Keewatin, Calgary, Saskatchewan, Rupert's Land, and Caledonia). It is with these councils' participation that members are appointed to the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples and collaboration on other national issues happens.
III. THE ANGLICAN INDIGENOUS HEALING FUND
Anglican Indigenous Healing Fund supports education, healing and reconciliation programs and events related to the legacy of residential schools. It was established in 1991, with an Advisory Group to assist The Anglican Church of Canada in responding to these issues in an ongoing, sensitive and just manner. Grants have been made and the fund is administered by an Advisory Group to encourage and initiate programs, which help educate and heal.
The healing fund has expanded to the level of $300,000 in 2001! Along with this expansion has been the creation of a new position to coordinate the fund, which includes diocesan healing initiatives to encourage our healing journey together. On The Anglican Church of Canada's website you can read about the projects funded. In summary we have assisted some dioceses and many Indigenous communities and organizations across Canada over the past ten years:
1992 to 1995 18 projects funded total value $239,020.
1996 to 1998 11 projects funded total value $133,500.
1999 20 projects funded total value $139,941.
2000 17 projects funded total value $113,613.
2001 (as of March) 13 projects funded total value $153,230.
Total 79 Projects funded Total value $779,304.
IV. A NEW AGAPE
The Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples and the Council of General Synod commend to you, General Synod 2001 the Working Document - Plan of Anglican work in support of a new partnership between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Anglicans A NEW AGAPE. This document outlining the directions and goals of our new relationship is found in your convening circular for ACTION.
"The Anglican Church of Canada is committed to a new relationship with the Indigenous (or Aboriginal) Peoples of Canada. This new relationship is based on a partnership which focuses on the cultural, spiritual, social, and economic independence of Indigenous communities. To give expression to this new relationship The Anglican Church of Canada will work primarily with the Indigenous peoples for a truly Anglican Indigenous Church in Canada. It is an important step in the overall quest for self-governance."
V. BUDGET and STAFFING in 2001
Donna Bomberry, Coordinator
Chris Hiller, Coordinator
Esther Wesley, Coordinator
Total Indigenous Program $547,000.
The Indigenous Ministries, Justice, and Healing programs and five staff are part of the larger Partnerships Department, which also includes staff supporting the work of EcoJustice and Partners in Mission, under Dr. Ellie Johnson as Director.
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