The last few years have been a time of both soul-searching and hope as Canada comes to terms with its colonial history. The Idle No More movement and the Missing Indigenous Women and Girls initiatives have raised awareness of continued injustice and racism in our society. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission collected a great deal of data on the Residential School System and offered concrete suggestions for healing—including calls to the churches to help facilitate reconciliation.
On January 7, we celebrate Epiphany, the light of Christ revealed to the whole world. At that time, to honour the spiritual and cultural gifts of our Indigenous neighbours, we will dedicate two pieces of art by Lawrence Beaulieu, donated by our Indigenous friend Raymond Olson. These will remain on display as reminders to work and pray toward healed Indigenous-settler relationships.
Through this art, we acknowledge that we live and worship on Treaty 1 territory. The government of Canada and the Anishinaabe and Cree peoples of the area signed the treaty on August 3, 1871 at Lower Fort Garry. For the Indigenous people, the treaty meant the formal recognition of a long-standing friendly relationship. For the government, the treaty meant the ceding of land in return for reserve land and for assistance with education and health services. At HSMC, we confess the pain and brokenness resulting from Canada’s failure to honour the terms of the treaty. We also acknowledge with gratitude the hospitality extended to us as settler people.
Accompanying the artwork will be a plaque with the following text:
This church is located on Treaty 1 territory, traditional land of the Anishinaabe, Cree, and Dakota people and the homeland of the Métis Nation. We are grateful to the Indigenous peoples for their stewardship of this land and the hospitality which enables our congregation to live, worship, and serve God the Creator here. We acknowledge the harms that we in the settler community have brought upon the Indigenous peoples of this land. These pieces of art symbolize our commitment to be people of reconciliation in word and deed.