In 2012, I spent two memorable hours in Smithers, B.C., with Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief Na’Moks (John Ridsdale), one of the chiefs at the centre of the Coastal GasLink crisis now confounding our nation. I also spent time with the chief and other members of the Haisla Nation, which supports the pipeline.
“The province of British Columbia alongside Coastal GasLink are continuing their plans to build a pipeline through the unceded territories of the Wet’suwet’en.
I have friends who live in Fond du Lac, a small, isolated community in northern Saskatchewan on the shore of Lake Athabasca, near the border with the Northwest Territories.
In northern Manitoba, winter travel in the 1960s was by snowmobile and summer travel was by boat. This early snowmobile was made by Ingham Brothers of Lanigan, Sask. The seat and steering at the front were connected to the frame and motor at the back by hinges on the runners. It was propelled by a metal cleat track. (Photo courtesy of Henry Neufeld)
Elna and Henry Neufeld are pictured in front of the Moose Lake School in 1952. (Photo courtesy of Henry Neufeld)
“Never a teacher,” I declared from the time I was in public school, growing up in the Leamington district of southwestern Ontario.
The 20-or-so Mennonites who attended the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies (NAIITS) symposium were humbled by the grace of their hosts who welcomed them, without hesitation, into the conversation.
Mennonite Church Canada recently released Unsettling the Word: Biblical Experiments in Decolonization, the latest of several publications that explore reconciliation and Indigenous-settler relationships.
Ted Swartz receives back the keys from Michelle Milne for her car, taken from her in a deal she didn’t understand. The vignette in the play Discovery: A Comic Lament parallels the taking of Indigenous lands in North America, where the original inhabitants do not control the land. The play was seen by four full houses in Waterloo Region, Ont., from May 31 to June 3, 2018. (Ted & Co. photo by Josh Kraybill/Ted & Co)
The Doctrine of Discovery is based on the Roman Catholic papal bull “Inter caetera.” Issued by Pope Alexander VI on May 4, 1493, it gave all the lands along a meridian west of the Cape Verde Islands, off the west coast of Africa, to the Spanish crown.
Many years ago, our archives first described this photograph as “School children at Bloodvein Reserve, ca. 1956.” The subject heading included the phrase, “Indians of North America,” correct for the time.
In the opening half of Steven Ratzlaff’s play Reservations, first staged in Winnipeg in 2016, an Alberta Mennonite farmer informs his two children that he plans to give a section of land—most of what he owns—to the Siksika First Nation. The farmer has heart troubles and he’s already renting the land out.
Several years ago, my Russian Mennonite grandmother told me a story about her childhood that I think about often. When she was just a young girl living somewhere southeast of Winnipeg, her parents unexpectedly lost their farmland. With no land, no money and no prospects, they packed their few belongings onto the first train out of town.
Hereditary chief George Kingfisher, left, and Mennonite landowner Ray Funk chat during a scene in the documentary film, Reserve 107, about land rights in Saskatchewan. (Photo by Brad Leitch)
Fish is smoked over an open fire during an Aski (Cree translation for 'land') learning tour. (Photo courtesy of Lyndsay Mollins Koene)
Mim Harder of Rouge Valley Mennonite Church, Stouffville, Ont., and Steve Heinrichs, director of Indigenous Relations for MC Canada. (Photo by Rachel Brnjas)
Mim Harder, left, presents Taylor Gibson, centre, and Rick Hill with quilts to thank them for hosting the retreat. (Photo by Rachel Brnjas)
Dialogue between indigenous and settler peoples was a key aspect of the retreat, held at Six Nations of the Grand River, near Brantford, Ont. Six Nations is the largest first nation in Canada. (Photo by Rachel Brnjas)
Over a period of seven years, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) heard more than 6,000 survivors of residential schools tell their painful stories of injustice and abuse. With the TRC’s work in hand, Christian churches can help write a better next chapter.
There is a popular language arising in the church when it comes to justice work, that of “being an ally.” It means to align yourself with whoever your “other” is, so to love your neighbour and serve the Lord. But what happens when words are not enough, and when having only words of an ally can make injustice? What happens when being an ally is not enough?
Melanie Kampen camped out at the Native Women’s Protest site near the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg earlier this month, to protest the government’s lack of response to the 1,182 missing and murdered indigenous women from across Canada. (Photo by Chris Swan)
On a very windy, cold and dark Oct. 3 night, Steve Heinrichs, director of indigenous relations for Mennonite Church Canada, and a few others strung 20 dresses on fishing line on both sides of the Esplanade Riel pedestrian bridge that spans the Red River near The Forks in downtown Winnipeg.
Hilda Epp, holds a blanket symbolizing the exposure to new diseases (small pox, tuberculosis, measles) that arrived with the European settlers on Turtle Island—an aboriginal term for North America—as Diane Tiessen looks on. On the far left is Denise Bartel and on the far right is Eve Klassen. (Photo by Dick Benner)
Early relationships between European settlers and aboriginals were characterized by cooperation and interdependence, John Bartel, a farmer from Drake, Sask., and a member of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s Ministries Commission, told a crowd of 75 huddled on 12 blankets representing Turtle Island—an aboriginal term for Nort