Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald are calling for a prayer vigil in support of the meeting of national Indigenous leaders with Prime Minister Stephen Harper Jan. 11.
Chief Theresa Spence has been on a fast since Dec. 11 to protest against several bills before Parliament that First Nations communities say will negatively impact them. The related Idle No More Movement, which arose in social media, has also put pressure on the government to meet Indigenous leaders.
“We recommend that the vigil include prayer, hymns and appropriate psalms,” said the leaders in a letter, issued today. “Drumming and chanting are also encouraged.”
Prayer resources for a vigil are also available online, including Honouring the Four Directions, the Great Thanksgiving of the Haudenosaunee, and the Athabascan Litany.
Along with the letter, Anglican leaders distributed a synopsis of the proposed legislation in question, written by members of Olthuis Kleer Townshend -LLP, a law firm that specializes in human rights.
KAIROS Canada, an ecumenical justice coalition of which the Anglican Church of Canada is a member, has also called for a solidarity fast. Information about fasting and prayer resources are available on their website.
The letter is signed by other Canadian Indigenous leaders, including the co-chairs of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples: the Rev. Norm Casey and Archdeacon Sid Black; the Rev. Canon Ginny Doctor, Indigenous Ministries coordinator; Bishop Lydia Mamakwa, Northern Ontario Region; Bishop Adam Halkett, Missinipi (Saskatchewan); and Canon Laverne Jacobs, Council of Elders.
On Dec. 31, the same group of leaders wrote to Prime Minister Harper and asked for him to meet with Chief Spence. They tied this event to Canada’s stated commitment to Indigenous justice:
“As you have acknowledged in your apology of 2008, Canada has long needed a new and just relationship with the First Nations,” they wrote on Dec. 31.
“[Chief Spence’s fast] is a righteous request for a re-commitment to the promising future presented in the framework of the treaties, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and in our God-given obligations and responsibilities to serve the well-being and rights of all humanity.”
- Read the call to prayer letter
- Sign up on Facebook for KAIROS Canada’s solidarity fast (available for Facebook members)
- Access KAIROS resources on the solidarity fast
- Read the Dec. 31 letter calling for a meeting between the Prime Minister and Chief Spence
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