Representatives of about 10 Canadian churches and church-affiliated organizations will gather in Winnipeg on June 21 — National Aboriginal Day — to renew a landmark covenant with Indigenous peoples that pledges the churches to continue working on human rights and justice issues for native peoples.
The ceremony and news conference will mark the 20th anniversary of the signing in 1987 of the document entitled A New Covenant: Towards the Constitutional Recognition and Protection of Aboriginal Self-Government in Canada.
Several national Indigenous organizations will also attend the recommitment ceremony, which comes during national gatherings of the Anglican Church of Canada’s General Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church In Canada’s National Convention.
The original document signed by the churches acknowledged the impact of centuries of colonialism and discrimination and called on all Christians and “people of good will” to advocate and work for recognition and implementation of Aboriginal rights in Canada.
During the ceremony on June 21, the churches will commit themselves to participate in the Assembly of First Nations’ Make Poverty History for First Nations campaign and the Sisters in Spiritcampaign of the Native Women’s Association of Canada; they will also commit themselves to promote the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and to continue to press the Government of Canada to sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The ceremony will be followed by a news conference and the release of a commemorative poster and a statement calling on all Christians to work ecumenically and collaboratively with Aboriginal peoples.
As well as the Anglican and Lutheran churches, representatives are expected from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Canadian Council of Churches, the Christian Reformed Church in North America, KAIROS (an ecumenical group working on justice initiatives), the Mennonite Central Committee Canada, the Mennonite Church Canada, the Presbyterian Church in Canada and the United Church of Canada.
Note to News Media Representatives:
The recommitment ceremony will be held Thursday, June 21 at 3 p.m. at the Winnipeg Convention Centre, 375 York Blvd., in Hall A on the 3rd floor.
The news conference will follow at 4 p.m. in the VIP Ballroom on the same level.
On-site contacts are Ellie Johnson, Director of Partnerships for the Anglican Church of Canada, Ed Bianchi, Aboriginal Rights Coordinator for KAIROS and Sam Carriere, Director of Communications for the Anglican Church of Canada.
More advance information may be obtained from Josie De Lucia, manager of the Anglican General Synod Newsroom at 204 943 6721, [email protected]
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