February 26, 2020 — The Wet’suwet’en – Coastal GasLink conflict and the broader #ShutDownCanada movement shows that reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in Canada is far from being complete.
There is hope, however, as the Jesuit experience shows. Since the arrival of the Jesuits in North America 400 years ago, relations between them and Indigenous peoples have clearly been marked by the colonial context. But today, Jesuits are on the path of reconciliation and decolonization, and can be a model for other institutions. This was the case, for example, when Jesuits voluntarily participated in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Peter Bisson, SJ, is a long time advocate for justice and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. He participated in the TRC when he was provincial of the then Jesuits of English Canada.
The Jesuits first had to learn to say: “We are responsible,” then “We are sorry,” and finally, “We need your help.” We need your help to undo how participation in colonization has harmed not only its victims, but us too.
He recently pointed out that the Jesuits’ evolution towards this partnership continues and if we listen, we will be transformed. And with that our behaviours will change.
How can you participate in this reconciliation? Come and share a moment of discussion with Peter Bisson, who will speak about his experience on Thursday 19 March during a Discover Soirée at the Villa Saint-Martin in Montreal. A time for personal reflection will follow.