The Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights is a 600 km walk from Kitchener to Ottawa in support of the adoption and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Comprised mostly of Christians, we are seeking to make right our relationships with host peoples in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. Please note that registration for walkers is now closed.
Thanks to InsideOttawaValley for sharing news of our arrival in the valley. They’ve also shared that a free public event will take place at St Paul’s United Church (25 Gore St. W. in Perth), where MP Romeo Saganash and others will address the gathering on matters related to Bill C-262 which seeks to bring Canada’s laws into harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Calling on Churches to take photos of your congregations and/or church signs with “Adopt the Declaration” messages. Send original hi-resolutions images to email@example.com, and we’ll post them here. Together, we can make some significant change! Please spread the word, and talk to your church to make it happen. – Steve Heinrichs
On Thursday, April 20, the staff of Mennonite Church Canada along with some representatives of Canadian Mennonite University blessed and sent Steve Heinrichs, Erin Froese, and Henry Neufeld on their way. Here’s a short video.
Join in the opening ceremony of the Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights on April 23, 1:30pm, at Stirling Mennonite Church in Kitchener (57 Stirling Avenue North).
Among the distinguished guests presiding over the opening ceremony:
Myeengun Henry, an elder & Aboriginal Traditional Counselor from Chippewa of the Thames First Nation near London, Ontario will offer a traditional sending ceremony.
MP Diom Roméo Saganash (Quebec riding of Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou) will bring greetings. Mr. Saganash is the author of the Private Member Bill C262. “An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
Leah Gazan, lecturer, community leader, activist, policy analyst and teacher in the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg will address the gathering.
After the opening ceremony, all are invited to accompany the walkers on the first leg of their 600 km journey, which will conclude the day at its first destination of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, 810 King St. E, Cambridge.
Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights in support of UNDRIP
by Deborah Froese WINNIPEG, Man. —Henry Neufeld is joining more than 50 other walkers in the Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights. From April 23 to May 14, participants will cover the 600k stretch between Kitchener and Ottawa, Ont. in support of the adoption and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
The walk will be a challenge, but perhaps especially so for Neufeld. He’s 87 years old and he is taking along his drum.
“I can’t go without my drum,” he says.
Neufeld’s passion for drumming and singing Christian faith songs in English and Ojibway is deeply rooted in his commitment to God and to Indigenous peoples. As Mennonite Church Canada workers, he and his late wife Elna lived in Indigenous communities for almost 20 years, developing friendships that continue today.
We’re excited to report that there are over 50 people registered to walk all or part of the Pilgrimage!
The way the numbers and dates synch up means than there will be at least 30 walkers at all times. These numbers are current as of the registration deadline of March 31. The age range is 9 months to 87 years old, with the most distant walkers coming from B.C. and Virginia, USA.
Walkers are still warmly welcomed to join in for a section of the journey, even if it’s just for a few hours or a day. Our desire is to welcome as many walkers as possible. However, after the registration deadline of March 31, we cannot offer food and accommodations, as we are working with limited space in certain host communities. You will need to find your own travel to connect up with us, and to make your own way home. See the map.
The Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights is on a learning journey to engage the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) so that we can actually live into it. To help churches do this, the Indigenous Rights program of KAIROS Canada has developed the “Let Justice Roll” campaign to help churches understand and advocate for justice for Indigenous peoples. Thank you, KAIROS, for your work on behalf of all of us.