A 600 km walk from Kitchener to Ottawa:
- engaging churches in a series of conversations about the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, exploring why it matters, the hope it offers, and how we can collectively live into it.
- calling upon the government to fulfill its promise to implement the Declaration by embracing the legislative framework outlined in Bill C-262.
We have named this walk a pilgrimage to signal
- our dependence upon the Creator
- our desire to hold the spiritual and the political together
- our attempt to connect this fragile initiative to the rich history of sacred walks seeking reparative change (e.g., the Native American Longest Walk, Chavez’ Pilgrimage to Sacramento, the Civil Rights March on Selma, Gandhi’s Salt March, and so on).
A 3 week journey beginning April 23 and ending May 14.
Fostering Awareness of, Conversation and Action on UNDRIP – Article 48 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action summons the Church to public dialogue and action in support the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. No less than 16 Calls to Action lift up the importance of the Declaration as a framework for reconciliation. We want to honour this call by animating awareness of the Declaration within Christian circles. We will also seek to nurture tangible action, sharing ways that congregations can honour the Declaration, including supporting the concerns of local Indigenous nations and advocacy of Bill C-262 (a private members bill which would provide a legislative framework for implementation of the Declaration).
Embodied Witness – As churches we are called to be in solidarity with the marginalized and the “crucified peoples of the land”. We long to give an embodied witness to the concerns and priorities voiced by Indigenous peoples; a witness towards healing justice that can also serve as a sign to the church, the larger settler public, and the State.
Church Constituency – We will seek to animate the participation of local churches in support of this pilgrimage. Church members from various communities will be welcomed to join the journey, and churches along the way will invited to host pilgrims, provide meals, open space for community teach-ins, and so on.
Intergenerational – This pilgrimage will provide an opportunity for people across generations to engage with one another and learn together.
Ecumenical and Inclusive – A significant desire is for us to mobilize Church communities so that we are “doing our own homework.” Yet we welcome persons and communities of other religious traditions to join the walk as well, and we will find ways to honour the gifts that such persons/communities bring and would like to share.
Connecting with Indigenous Communities – Wherever we walk, we walk in Indigenous lands. We hope to make respectful connections with local Indigenous communities in a way that gifts and does not burden.
Prayer & Ritual – This journey will be rooted in prayer, song and symbols. We are peoples of faith seeking to walk paths of decolonization, and we need the gifts of our traditions to do this well.
Teach-ins – Many of our churches lack a basic awareness of the Declaration. We want to create a space where people can be introduced to it and come away both with a sense of why it is “a blueprint for reconciliation” (TRC) and how they might support it.
To Parliament Hill – In imitation of many Indigenous treks, our pilgrimage will go to Ottawa in order to demonstrate to the federal government our support of the Declaration, calling upon the State to implement the Declaration in meaningful fashion (I.e., Bill C262 as the minimum standard).