The Anglican Church has been in relationship with Indigenous people in Canada since 1753 when the Rev. Thomas Wood came as a missionary to the Miqmaq people.
Indigenous peoples in Canada were speaking approximately 53 different languages when the Europeans first arrived.
During the century following Confederation, the Anglican Church ran approximately 26 of the 80 church-run, government-funded “Indian Residential Schools.” Between 50 and 100 thousand Aboriginal children attended those Anglican schools.
Indigenous people make up four per cent of the Canadian Anglican population. About 225 Canadian Anglican congregations have all or nearly all Indigenous membership.
There are approximately 130 Indigenous Anglican priests in Canada, many of them working on a non-stipendiary or volunteer basis.
Since 1989 we have had nine Indigenous Anglican bishops in Canada:
- Rt. Rev. Charles Arthurson, Ret. (Saskatchewan)
- Rt. Rev. Paul Idlout, Ret. (Arctic)
- Rt. Rev. Gordon Beardy, Ret. (Keewatin)
- Rt. Rev. Andrew Atagotaaluk (Arctic)
- Rt. Rev. Benjamin Arreak, Ret. (Arctic)
- Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous Anglican Bishop
- Rt. Rev. Lydia Mamakwa (Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh)
- Rt. Rev. Thomas Corston, Ret. (Moosonee)
- Rt. Rev. Adam Halkett (Saskatchewan)
Indigenous people make up more than one third of the Anglican population in five of the 30 Canadian dioceses (Arctic, Caledonia, Keewatin, Moosonee, Saskatchewan). In the Diocese of the Arctic, about 90 per cent of the Anglicans are Indigenous people, mainly Inuit.
Eighteen of the 30 Canadian dioceses have some kind of structure (and episcopal support) for Indigenous Anglicans to gather and have a voice. These are Algoma, The Arctic, Athabasca, Brandon, Caledonia, Calgary, Cariboo, Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, Huron, Keewatin, Moosonee, New Westminster, Qu’Appelle, Quebec, Rupert’s Land, Saskatchewan, Yukon.