A dialogue guide for Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples: from Indignation to Action

On May 15th and 22nd, I joined 15 people on a consultative committee on reconciliation with the First nations organized by the Jesuit Forum for Social Faith and Justice. Indigenous people, non-indigenous people, francophones, and anglophones were part of the discussions; among them were Marie Wilson, one of the Commissioners for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, long-time collaborators with the Province and representatives of the Centre Justice et Foi. The committee's mandate is to contribute to a dialogue guide that will be published by the Jesuit Forum with Novalis and KAIROS, Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives.

Consultation Committee - Jesuit Forum

Dialogue and reconciliation

This initiative is a follow-up to the official apology provided by the Jesuits of Canada to the First Nations in the context of our participation in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and to the Canadian Canoe Pilgrimage. This dialogue guide is aimed at facilitating discussions and dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous persons based on mutual respect and knowledge.

It aims at building bridges of trust in order to promote the construction of an inclusive Canadian society while recognizing the delicate issues, such as the destructive effects of colonialism in Canada and in the Catholic church. The dialogue guide will be used in conjunction with the blanket exercise of KAIROS.

Indignation would be deadly if it didn't translate into concerted action which can bring change, be they small actions. This is why this project is a source of enthusiasm for me. There was a real communion of minds during these first two meetings of the committee.

Like many Québécois, Canadians and Catholics, I was profoundly shocked by the testimonies heard during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. As a historian, I had already been exposed to the horrors of colonialism and the violence against Indigenous peoples of the Americas, but I used to consider them as connected with a distant past. I refused to see and to admit that the consequences of colonialism and racism are profoundly anchored in the psyche of too many of my fellow citizens and also in the real injustices that affect the First Nations of Canada - injustices treated with complete indifference.

My awareness - radical and unsparing - was also of the active role played by Catholic religious orders in this cultural genocide. I was expecting a strong answer from the Canadian Catholic Church and authentically bold steps towards reconciliation with the Indigenous, Metis and Inuit communities. But I was profoundly outraged by the silence of the Pope and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. I was equally outraged by the refusal of many of my fellow citizens to admit their part of responsibility in this collective crime, secularists who prefer to blame the Church, and nationalists who blame the federal government of John A. McDonald. Hard work will be needed to heal this selective memory and this refusal to face this tragedy collectively, in the Church as well as in the whole society.

Indignation would be deadly if it didn't translate into action and concertation, which can bring change, be it small actions. This is why this project is a source of enthousiasm for me. There was a real communion of minds during these first two meetings of the committee. We all agreed that it's urgent to address collectively the sequels of colonialism even though this can bring fear and discomfort in our communities of faith and for our fellow citizens. The educational approach of this guide will address these fears and concerns. First, it will favour encounters between Indigenous and non-Indigenous and it will help establish a climate of confidence and mutual respect through a dialogue in small groups. Finally, it will be used in conjunction with the Blanket exercise of KAIROS, which helps participants relive and feel - into their flesh - the violence of the process of colonial dispossession.

Frédéric BarriaultFrédéric Barriault
Centre justice et foi







Do you want to learn more about vocations to the Society of Jesus? Visit www.jesuitvocations.org for more information.





Recent News

November 15, 2018 — A high-level intellectual, a historian by training and ex-President of Campion College, Father John Meehan, SJ arrived a few months ago in Montreal, where he joined the Jesuit community at the Residence of the Holy Name of Jesus.

November 9, 2018 — On November 20 there will be a major fundraising event on behalf of the Maison Dauphine Foundation. Some 40 artists will participate in the multi-discipline, uptempo event that will take place at the Palais Montcalm, with artist Guylaine Tremblay as host, and Régis Labeaume, Mayor of Quebec, as honorary president.

November 9, 2018 — On November 14th and 19th, the magazine Relations will hold two evenings of reflection on ways out of the extractionist model, the first in Québec City (Frédéric-Back Culture and Environment Centre), and the second in Montréal (Maison Bellarmin).

November 9, 2018 — Speaking on behalf of all adult Catholics, Pope Francis formally closed the Synod of Bishops on Oct. 28 by asking young people for forgiveness.

November 9, 2018 — The provincials main task is to visit every Jesuit in the country at least once a year along with most of our apostolates or works. I spent the past week in Winnipeg where I visited the Jesuit community and most of the Jesuit inspired works here.

November 7, 2018 — As Norbert Piché was in El Salvador for meetings of the Jesuit Central and North American network on migration, he reflects on the latest news regarding the group of people headed toward the United States.

November 7, 2018 — Historians and curators from China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, USA and Canada met in Midland, Ontario on October 18 to 21, 2018 for an invitational symposium titled "Life & Death in the Missions of New France and East Asia: Narratives of Faith & Martyrdom".

view all news

Search news

Publications

Au coeur du monde

CJI Mission News

Relations - sept 2018



Ignatian Centre
The Ignatian Centre is a Jesuit ministry run by laity dedicated to bringing the Spiritual E...