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 2016 General Synod
We live and breathe in a sacred circle of trust, hope and love. Members will honor the Seven Traditional Teachings: Love, Truth, Honesty, Bravery, Wisdom, Humility and Respect. The Commission will conduct their deliberations in a circle using the Seven Guiding Principles to Create and Sustain the Circular Model of Leadership:
- Sacred Space: Where spirituality is fully present, a place where the Holy Spirit guides who we are and who we are called to become. Sacred space will be created using culturally appropriate ceremony.
- Shared Leadership: Each person is equally valued for themselves and equally shares the power within the community. Decisions are made by consensus and all information and resources are shared. Individual talents, skills and gifts are recognized and empowered.
- Vision: When we dream it together, then it happens. A shared vision, owned and articulated by everyone, guarantees excellence in leadership. “Without vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs)
- Norms: Standards of behavior agreed upon by the group. Norms are constantly reviewed and updated.
- Accountability: To the vision, to shared leadership, and to all tasks. “First among equals” means there is an elected or designated chair of the commission who relates to other interested parties. This person(s) is empowered by the commission to act on its behalf, honouring the consensus model of decision making. If task related groups or sub-committees are needed, they will also designate chairs who report out and receive information. Note takers are an essential part of accountability and should be selected at the beginning of the meeting.
- Gospel Based Discipleship: The Commission will engage the Gospel of the day at the beginning of each meeting to ask “what stands out for us, what is Jesus saying to us, and what are we called to do?”
- Creativity: Comes from the God and resides within everyone. God gives everyone the power and authority to carry out the vision. The Creative arts – graphic art, writing prose/poetry, music and dance, drawing, drama, meditation, and examples of creative energy that give life to the work.
The Commission will be representative of the Anglican Church of Canada. It will be diverse in age, gender, lay, ordained and race. The Primate and the National Indigenous Anglican Bishop in consultation with the Indigenous House of Bishop’s Leadership Circle shall name a minimum of 12 people to serve on the Commission. The Primate and the NIAB will also name a temporary convener to initiate the first meeting of the Commission. At the first meeting of The Commission it will decide on leadership for the work of the Commission: chairperson, co-chairpersons, or other culturally appropriate leadership style. The Primate and NIAB will be ex-officio members. Other ex-officio members may be named from Church House staff or other organizations. The Coordinator for Indigenous Ministry will provide staff support and will ask at other Church House staff to also provide support when needed.