Our journey with the churches has been both blessed and hurtful. It has resulted in the formation of the All Native Circle Conference (ANCC) and the Anglican Council of Indigenous People (ACIP).

One experience that we as a Dialogue took part in was to visit Indigenous ministries in Winnipeg. We visited the Indian Family Centre, a storefront ministry run by the Christian Reformed Church; Rossbrook House youth ministries, run by the Roman Catholic Church and Circle of Life;  and Thunderbird House, which is a traditional Teaching Lodge. Earlier in the Dialogue, we visited the Dr. Jessie Saulteaux Centre, an Indigenous college run by the United Church.

We had lunch with the staff of the All Native Circle Conference and talked about their ministry.

We saw how Indigenous people experience the church in an urban setting.

The only ministry that is run out of a church is Agape Table at All Saints’ Anglican Church. The aftermath of the residential schools for both our churches has shown us that church structures are still places where many Indigenous people feel very uncomfortable.

A sign of reconciliation between traditional elders and Christian ministries may be seen at funeral wakes and funerals. Drums and the smudging (purification ceremony) of the church and casket are elements that would not be included ten years ago.

Another form of healing happens at gospel jamborees. This is an example of an ecumenical event where all denominations are invited.


  • That the churches ensure that Indigenous people continue to be part of the Dialogue, and encourage the Aboriginal Ministries Council of The United Church of Canada and the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples to have dialogue at each other’s gatherings.
  • We encourage all members of both churches to find opportunities to learn about the wisdom and traditions of Indigenous peoples.

Walk for Healing

Since 2004 several churches in Winnipeg come together each year on the third Sunday of Advent for a gospel jamboree. This weekend event draws primarily Indigenous people from all over Manitoba and northwest Ontario in what we call a Walk for Healing. Singers and preachers from both our churches are interspersed with praise, testimony, and prayers for healing. Central to the weekend is a great feast on Saturday night, when volunteers from all over Winnipeg serve traditional foods to hundreds of participants, and others who come in from the bitter-cold streets. In 2007 the featured preacher, Bishop Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous Anglican Bishop, drew many visitors to meet and hear this extraordinary man who is able to bridge traditional and Christian cultures, and bring all of us together around the gospel.


Metoni-Kayas – A very long time ago.

It is difficult to describe traditional.  Traditional knowledge is a part of the identity of most Indigenous communities. The concept of traditional knowledge is too varied to have a single definition. As such, a definition would be hurtful (prejudicial?) to the various forms of knowledge that are held by traditional communities.

“We come from an oral tradition, not a literal one.”

When you gain spiritual understanding through the teachings of your own cultures, only then can you see all human beings are created equal and endure equally.

History of Non-Traditional

“1492” The start of destruction of social, spiritual, cultural systems and relations.

First contact … the reigning power destroyed the spiritual self-confidence of the people they ruled. Among their destructive ideas is original sin, the separation of humans from each other, from nature and from Kise Manito (Creator).

Still, to this day we obey the original instruction. Love, Honour, Respect for all things in the circle of life.

The Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

In September 2007 the UN General Assembly adopts the Declaration with an overwhelming majority of 143 votes in favour; only Canada, the U.S., New Zealand, and Australia were opposed, with 11 abstentions. The Declaration has been negotiated through more than 20 years between non-status and Indigenous peoples.

“The Declaration does not represent solely the viewpoint of the UN, nor does it represent solely the viewpoints of Indigenous peoples. It is a declaration which combines our views and interests and which set the framework for the future. It is a tool for peace and justice, based upon mutual recognition and respect.”

Dialogue that has come from United Church/Anglican
Mutual recognition
Look for greater unity

This is what I see coming from the two denominations.

The declaration may be a guide for

Other religious systems
Indigenous peoples
Civil society

In making the theme of the twenty-first century of Canada’s Indigenous people “Partnership for Action and Dignity” a reality.

Religion is an enlightenment of one’s understanding of themselves.

We became divided under the tree of life during our historical journey; it took us into two separate paths. Treaties broken, tears fell, children cried in boarding schools as their umbilical culture was cut away by the white hand.

Time clicked on, every second moving into another horizon. Our old songs and ceremonies echoed off the wind into silence.

With Indian tongue silenced in the thoughts of our children, a new culture would be born out of spite and ignorance; we became assimilated.

Our ancestors assumed that all human beings would honour the Great Spirit when making an agreement or vow, but this did not happen.


“I am not sick,
I am broken.”

Treat the earth well, it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors; we borrow it from our children.

Throughout this land many tribes are slowly reclaiming identity. As we move into the twenty-first century many Ancestors’ echoes are finally being answered.

“Let us put our minds together and see what kind of life
we can make for our children.”
Sitting Bull (Lakota)

So many young ones lose their heritage and do not know who they are. To give them wings, you have to give them roots first.

Our Indian prophecies. The seventh generation is about responsibility. This generation is the generation that will move the North American Indian into the realm of justice and freedom.

Since 1492, 517 years ago, our tribes have vanished. At one time we were 80,000,000 plus strong. Survival is our hope and this is history that we teach our youth. Mentoring and coaching lost languages is the theme of identity.

What happened in the past will never leave us; we have to deal with it.

1920–1930 Christian teachings of the superiority of the white race. Demographers were noting a decline in the population of the First Nations and predicting their extinction.

Release #5 Jan. 15, 2008 – Indian, Métis, Inuit population – 1,172,790 Registered Indians. Census:

50,485 Inuit
389,785 Métis
698,025 Status Indian

All My Relations

— Russel Burns