Established in 2014, the Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation, and Justice serves as part of the response of the Anglican Church of Canada to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Comprised of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Anglicans, the commission is tasked with reviewing church structures and policies to identify and seek ways to eliminate vestiges of the Doctrine of Discovery; creating a plan for reconciliation to overcome intergenerational trauma caused by policies such as the residential schools; and assessing injustices in Indigenous communities to determine areas where the church can make a difference.
Read a letter from the Primate on the creation of the Commission.
For more information, contact Melanie Delva, staff support for this Commission.
This Commission is the Anglican Church of Canada’s response to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It will focus on three concerns:
- The repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery
- Reconciliation, what does it look and feel like?
- Injustices in our Indigenous communities, “broken homes and lives, sexual and family violence, high recidivism and incarceration rates, high chemical abuse, loss of spiritual fulfillment, loss of cultures, languages and traditions and poor stewardship of Mother Earth.” (from the 1994 Covenant)
The Commission will:
- Review and assess progress on General Synod Act 60, 2010, “Repudiate of the Doctrine of Discovery” and recommend further action to live into the Church’s commitment;
- Create a theological reflection on the Doctrine of Discovery;
- Review and assess existing resources already developed for the Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery; answer the question: What more can the Church do to fully repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery;
- Deliberate and develop strategy for the Church’s role in reconciliation, particularly in response to Justice Sinclair’s, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, question “what does reconciliation look like?”
- Study the role of spirituality/lack of spirituality in the injustices found in our Indigenous communities, both rural and urban, to answer the question: “How can the Church improve the quality of life in our Indigenous communities?
- Conclude its ministry and deliver a final report/recommendations to the 2019 General Synod
Current Commission membership:
- Janaki Bandera
- Dixie Bird
- John Bird
- Sidney Black
- Verna Firth
- Jennifer Henry
- Laverne Jacobs
- Lydia Mamakwa
- Mark MacDonald
- Stan McKay
- Sol Sanderson
- Riscylla Shaw (co-chair)
- Budd Smith
- Andrew Wesley (co-chair)
- Amos Winter
Updates and news items from the Primate’s Commission to the Church.
- Dec. 9, 2016 – An open letter to all Anglicans from the Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation, and Justice
- July 2016 – Report of Primate’s Commission on Doctrine of Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice to General Synod 2016
- June 2014 – Learning to call one another friends: The Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice
A range of resources are available to provide further information on the Doctrine of Discovery and the long struggle for Indigenous self-determination.
“A First Look At” brochures:
- The Doctrine of Discovery
- The Royal Proclamation of 1763
- The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- The TRC 94 Calls to Action
Printing for distribution? Here is how to print and fold:
We Are Still Here: Responsive Litany
A litany developed by the Commission for use in community settings, whether in Sunday worship, diocesan or deanery meetings, study groups, or another form of gathering.