Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Beyond Platitudes with the MMIW

Yesterday Canada's Prime Minister Trudeau had an audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican. The meeting was cordial and the PM asked the pontiff about an apology to aboriginal people in Canada for the misery of the residential school system. Many denominations including the Roman Catholic church and the United Church of Canada colluded in what amounted to cultural genocide, as well as abuse of every form.

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Apparently Pope Francis affirmed the dignity of all people without making any commitment to a formal apology. A tweet described the meeting as platitudes without apology. I responded by saying that the Canadian government has apologized, but has offered only platitudes rather than substance.

Today the national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women begins, already dogged by delays and criticism that those who should be able to speak won't be given the opportunity. The inquiry begins in Whitehorse NWT, and this morning I heard a woman from the region note that some of those affected live without internet or even television, so they may not be aware of what is transpiring. They won't tell their stories of loss because they aren't aware of the opportunity.

Image result for inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous

The "truth gathering process" began yesterday with the lighting of a sacred fire and an opening ceremony closed to the media. I hope that the inquiry gains purpose and strength as it progresses across the country. We can pray that this is so. It's the least we can do as members of faith communities which did not live the love of Christ with First Nations peoples.


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