Truth, Healing and Reconciliation
Canadian Unitarian Universalists (UUs) are committed to the journey toward truth, justice, healing, and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, and to putting into practice the principles set forth in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
In 2014, the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) and Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada (UUMOC) issued a Truth and Reconciliation Statement. In it, we committed to assemble and promote educational materials for our congregations on the history and impact of the Indian residential school system, and to uphold the recommendations of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation Task Force was formed to carry out this commitment.
The Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation Reflection Guides
The Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation Reflection Guides (THRR Guides) are being developed by the task force to help Unitarian Universalists engage with and learn about the true history of Canada: the colonization of Indigenous peoples and, in particular, the history of the Indian residential schools. In preparing this material, we recognize that each congregation and facilitator will have their own history and relationship with this work. The THRR Guides are designed to encourage further interaction and cultural awareness. We hope that congregations and other UU groups will offer opportunities for members and friends to read and work through them together.
Our goal in developing the THRR Guides is to invite participants to learn, reflect on, and engage with the work of truth, healing, and reconciliation in a Canadian Unitarian Universalist context. We believe that non-Indigenous peoples are called to stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples in the ongoing struggle for justice and healing, and we have tried to design activities to be inclusive of Indigenous and non-Indigenous identities. But it must be admitted that we have primarily written the Guides for non-Indigenous people, who we expect will be the majority of participants.
An overview of the Adult Eight-Session THRR Guides describes the topics covered in each session and provides a great idea of what to expect. Participants are invited to explore their experiences emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and physically.
The task force continues to assemble educational materials for our Canadian congregations to address the needs and interests of different age groups. The THRR Guides that have been developed are available on the CUC’s Truth Healing and Reconciliation Guides website (beta website still in development).
We approach this work knowing that we are all learning how to walk the path of reconciliation—none of us is an expert. We know that true reconciliation comes when people feel safe enough to speak authentically. The materials used in the THRR Guides are complex, and leading a group through them requires skill and sensitivity.
Because of this, we require facilitators to have a basic understanding of our approach to this work, and the approval of their minister or religious educator.
If you are interested in becoming a facilitator for the THRR Guides, check the CUC events calendar for the next facilitator training dates.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
The THRR Guides could not have been created without the ongoing care, patience, inspiration, and support of our entire team!
- Rev. Meg Roberts, co-chair
- Rev. Samaya Oakley, co-chair
- Amber Dawn Bellemare
- Marlene Blake Seale
- Leslie Kemp
- Casey Stainsby
- April Lilley, CUC staff
Would you like to get updates as more THRR Guides become available? Or perhaps you want to learn more about facilitator training, increase awareness of the Guides in your congregation, or help us develop new ones? Please indicate what interests you about the task force’s work, and we’ll gladly be in touch. For general information, you can also email the task force at email@example.com.
We are learning together, Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people, in our UU congregations and our larger communities. Here are some resources you may find useful:
- The CUC’s 2016 Sharing Our Faith-package suggests many songs, stories, and readings for worship services and other activities.
- Our Adult Resource List includes books, novels, videos, and other teaching tools. [[link to come.]]
- Our Elementary Age Resource List suggests picture books, novels, videos, and other teaching tools for lower and upper elementary school children.
- The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is the permanent home for all statements, documents, and other materials gathered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. You can access historical records and other materials to help foster reconciliation and healing.
- Kairos Canada is an ecumenical organization of eleven Christian churches and religious organizations that deliberate on issues of common concern, advocate for social justice, and join with people of faith and goodwill in action for social transformation. Their wide-ranging Indigenous rights work includes decolonization and reconciliation education through the KAIROS Blanket Exercise, the Winds of Change campaign to implement the TRC Calls to Action, and much more.
- Reconciliation Canada is an Indigenous-led organization that catalyzes meaningful relationships through values-based dialogue, leadership, and action. Their model for reconciliation engages people in open, honest conversations to understand our diverse histories and experiences. They offer Community Action Toolkits for youth, young adults, and adults.