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Indigenous Justice & Respectful Relationships

Territorial Acknowledgment

The East Central Ontario Regional Council (ECORC) of the United Church of Canada acknowledges that its buildings and ministries are on traditional territories of Indigenous Peoples.

CONTACTReverend Rodney Smith-Merkley - Minister for Respectful Relationship and Indigenous Justice

Reverend Rodney Smith-Merkley is the Regional Council’s Minister for Indigenous Justice and Respectful Relationships

Phone: 1-800-268-3781 Ext. 6164
Email: RSMerkley@united-church.ca

Sharing our Stories about Murraybun…

On what would have been his 100th birthday, Nov. 30th, 4:45pm at Curve Lake Community Church, (limited to 50 participants with masks, RSVP 2revrod@gmail.com) For more information, please click HERE.

An Invitation to Listen as We Walk the Path of Reconciliation

Elder Alf Dumont: Starting again at the beginning is a good way to move forward together.

“In the worship I attend, we have acknowledged the land. Now though, we follow that with a prayer for reconciliation,” said Elder Alf Dumont.  I had begun my conversation with Alf saying that I wanted to take up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s challenge to keep telling the story of colonization and residential schools, and the churches’ role in it. I told him that my friend Cheryl and I were thinking about ways to make the church aware of what resources were available, and how they might explore them in a church setting.

Please continue to read the story HERE

Trekking Across Canada Together

June 9, 2021

Dear fellow walkers and movers

I am writing to thank you for your dedication to your own health – please keep moving and for your own sake, recording your achievements and celebrating! Maybe the day is coming soon when we can begin in-person walking groups again.

As you know last week we paused our trek to honour the memory of the 215 children found in Kamloops, and to honour the grief the indigenous communities must be feeling. After much prayer and discussion, we have decided it is appropriate to end the walk for this year, and maybe do a special trek up north another time!

We accomplished so much in our walk – coast to coast, we met with elders, activists and other community leaders across the country! Because of the wisdom they shared, it has enabled me to feel an urgency as news unfolds. Let’s stay educated, stay connected, and advocate wherever we can for changes to federal laws so that we can begin a respectful walk into the future.

In the meantime, we as a church grieve, and we wonder what new discoveries will be made. It is a difficult history to accept, but I pray it will fuel and drive us to be better for our children’s futures.

Yours in Christ

on behalf of Helmut Enns and Rodney Smith-Merkley

Past Updates:

Sign up for the Respectful Relations info list

Respectful Relations

Anyone in the Regional Council with a particular interest in respectful relations can give their contact info to staff member Reverend Rodney Smith-Merkley. He will keep in touch and also direct you to events and articles that come up too quickly for the regular regional council e-news.
The Senate finally passed C-15 – the UNDRIP Implementation Act!

Aaniin All,

June 17, 2021 will be remembered as an historic day for indigenous rights and reconciliation in Canada. Today the Senate finally passed C-15 – the UNDRIP Implementation Act! Attached is the joint statement of the Coalition of indigenous organizations and prominent individuals and allies who organized so tirelessly over the last several weeks for this victory. Chi miigwech to all of you who signed letters and spoke out to help make this possible. Still much hard work ahead to make implementation a reality but this was the necessary first step down this path.

C-15 – the UNDRIP Implementation Act

Indigenous Justice and Respectful Relationship Stories

Walking the Path of Peace Together * – March 2021 UpdateOver the winter, plans for the use of the land the spring, summer and fall of 2021 have been developing in exciting ways, led this year primarily by an Indigenous member of the Walking the Path of Peace Together’s Land Council, Maureen Buchanan.  Over the past year including through the winter, there has been an increased use of the land by Indigenous people and groups such as the Kingston Indigenous Language Nest (KILN) for ceremony, teachings and renewal.[1] Read the full article HERE    [1] For further information on the Language Nest, see: https://kingstonindigenouslanguage.ca       

The Beginnings of a Wonderful Partnership: Two grannies, Irene Clarke and Doris Thomas from the Region had just retired. With lots of energy and enthusiasm they volunteered in Missions in Peru, India and Cuba. Someone asked why don’t you do something in your own country? Why not? But, how do you get started? View the complete article here

Indigenous Learning Resources


Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada

In this atlas, you will find outstanding reference maps of Indigenous Canada, as well as a section devoted to Truth and Reconciliation, including detailed pages on many aspects of the topic with contemporary and historical photography, maps and more. There’s also a glossary of common Indigenous terms. This atlas was created by The Royal Canadian Geographical Society in conjunction with the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Métis Nation, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and Indspire.

For more info, visit: Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada


21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act

…the essential guide to understanding the [Indian Act] and its repercussions on generations of Indigenous Peoples, written by a leading cultural sensitivity trainer.

For more info, visit: 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act


Indigenous Relations – Insights, Tips & Suggestions to Make Reconciliation a Reality

Practical tools that will help you respectfully avoid missteps in your business interactions and personal relationships with Indigenous Peoples.

For more info, visit: Indigenous Relations – Insights, Tips & Suggestions to Make Reconciliation a Reality

Calls to the Church

Calls to the Church articulates the Indigenous Church’s vision for the ongoing development of Indigenous Peoples’ mission and ministry and communities of faith within The United Church of Canada.

It outlines pathways for the whole church to continue to walk in the Spirit of Christ toward justice, healing, and reconciliation.

For more info, visit: United Church of Canada – Calls to the Church