August 19, 2010

This is the fifth of occasional updates on the work of the Anglican Church of Canada as it takes its part in healing and reconciliation between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals. As of August 2010, these updates are written by Archdeacon Michael Pollesel, General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada.

1. First public national TRC event a success

The first public Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) event was held at The Forks historical site in Winnipeg, Man. from June 16 to 19. Most reports on this first of seven national TRC events hail it as a great success. Thousands of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal participants gathered to reflect on residential schools experiences through art, historical presentations, and statement-sharing, both in private and in public. Organizers recorded 425 statements from former residential school students. To catch up on coverage from the event, visit the TRC website or read reports from the Anglican Journal.

The next national event is scheduled to take place June 2011 in Inuvik, N.W.T. Because this is one of the areas where the Anglican Church of Canada operated several schools, General Synod leadership has already begun to think about how to best help the healing and reconciliation process at this event.

2. Ongoing support for healing and right relations

Seven dioceses in the Anglican Church of Canada have donated extra money to the Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation (AFHR) out of the refunds they received from the revised Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. Over $240,000 has been received from the seven dioceses and, according to Esther Wesley, coordinator of the AFHR, this money will be used “not just for healing but for projects that focus on ‘right relations,’ which means building relationships between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals.” Read the full story here.

3. Archives essential behind the scenes

As the work of the TRC continues, one of the unsung heroes behind the scenes is the General Synod Archives.

The General Synod Archives acquires, preserves, and provides access to the records of enduring value created by General Synod and its committees, councils, boards, and commissions. It also holds the official papers of the Primate, the General Secretary, and all other officers and employees of General Synod. The General Synod Archives, which also house the Diocese of the Arctic Archives, cooperate with the network of diocesan and provincial Anglican Archives to consider common concerns, archival standards, and strategies.

The General Synod Archives hold many documents produced during the decades that the Anglican Church of Canada operated residential schools. These include letters, reports, newsletters, and other such written and pictorial documents that may have made mention of various schools, students, and staff.

The General Synod Archives will be an important source as the TRC gathers information about residential schools. The Archives are committed to providing as much information as possible, both to the TRC as well as to residential school survivors and their families. In sharing this information, General Synod Archives always adhere to laws governing individuals’ privacy.

For more information on any of these items, contact Henriette Thompson, Director of Partnerships, General Synod, the Anglican Church of Canada, 80 Hayden St. Toronto, Ont. M4Y 3G4, (416) 924-9199 ext. 213.