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National Indigenous History Month

Page updated June 2024

 Right Relations Building: The Work Continues

June is National Indigenous History Month. You are invited to consider where we as individuals, as members of communities of faith and as Canadians are on our healing journey and what actions we need to take to live out the Apologies made by the United Church of Canada.

How will you and your community take time this month to engage in new ways to deepen your understanding of Indigenous history? Try one or more of these suggestions:

Territorial Land Acknowledgements

Canada is Indigenous territory. It is respectful protocol to acknowledge at the start of every gathering or meeting the particular nation(s) that had a relationship with the land you are on since time immemorial. In The United Church of Canada it has become common practice to acknowledge the land on which we gather. It is a small step toward reconciliation but it does not stop with some words. When you begin your meetings or gatherings by acknowledging the land on which you are worshiping, working, and living, you also acknowledge the presence of Indigenous people in the present as well as the past before colonization. You acknowledge connection and disrupted connection to the land and that there are things you need to do to act on your words and reconnect relationships.

Learn more about writing land acknowledgements with the Rev. Kimberly Roy speaking with the Living into Right Relations Circle of Shining Waters Regional Council. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAoM5qPDi8U

If you acknowledge the traditional territory of Indigenous peoples in Ontario, this is current news you need to know:
The governments of Canada and Ontario have reached a proposed $10 billion settlement with the Robinson Huron Treaty Litigation Fund, representing the 21 Robinson Huron First Nations in litigation with the governments of Ontario and Canada for failing to increase annuities payments as the resource revenue in the treaty territory grew.

 The 21 Robinson Huron Treaty First Nations are: https://www.thespec.com/local-huntsville/news/2023/04/11/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-robinson-huron-treaty.html?li_source=LI&li_medium=thespec_recommended_for_you



Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford, Ontario is hosting an online Lunch and Learn on June 20 from 12 pm – 1 pm The Woodland Cultural Centre is raising funds to support in the operational costs to restore the former Mohawk Institute Residential School, the first residential school to be restored into an Interpretive Historic Site and Educational Resource. The virtual tour is a powerful experience with tours of the rooms, stories of what happened there, and interviews with survivors. https://woodlandculturalcentre.ca/upcoming-events/

Indigenous Day of Prayer:  https://united-church.ca/sites/default/files/2024-06/2024_indigenous_blessing-autonomous-church.docx

The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjak Fund: Celebrate the richness, strength, and diversity of traditional and contemporary Indigenous cultures. https://downiewenjack.ca/ihm-2024/

Friendship Centres: Consider attending events hosted by Indigenous Communities in your neighbourhood. As well as checking events held by local First Nations, you might want to consult Friendship Centres, for example:

North Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre – Friendship Centre (nbifc.org)

N’Swakamok Native Friendship Centre (nfcsudbury.org)

Bawating Indigenous Friendship Centre (Sault Ste. Marie) – OFIFC (https://ofifc.org)

Thunder Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre – Life Journey Support (tbifc.ca)


Pow Wows in Ontario

Attend a pow wow near you but before you go, learn about pow wow etiquette for non-Indigenous folks: https://canadianpowwows.ca/dos-and-donts/




Three Indigenous Organizations to Learn About

Land Needs Guardians “Take care of the land and the land takes care of us”. Learn how 160 First Nations Guardians programs help Indigenous Nations honour our responsibility to care for lands and waters.



a small piece of moose hide with a safety pin
Moose Hide Campaign is an Indigenous-led organization created by a Raven Lacerte and her father, Paul when they were hunting moose to feed their family and talking about gender-based violence in their community and the need to involve men in advocacy. Moose hide is a symbol of taking a stand against violence and undoing the effects of Residential Schools. Order free moosehide pins to educate and raise awareness of gender-based violence. Watch the videos, take a self-paced, 5-part learning journey to end violence in Canada. https://moosehidecampaign.ca/

Moose Hide Campaign https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTjcEnna7gQ

Moose Hide Campaign 101 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlGkSu58_m4

Moose Hide as Medicine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNssYKUU40g


Indigenous Wisdoms for Sustainable Futures. A conversation on the vital role of Indigenous perspectives in climate and environmental protection explored Indigenous initiatives for climate action. Discover how the Treaty No. 9 litigation aims to transform current unjust industrial practices by restoring Indigenous sovereignty and governance. Plus, learn actionable strategies we can all integrate into our lives and work.


Books to Read

Legacy: Trauma, Story, and Indigenous Healing by Suzanne Methot. ECW Press, 2019. An original and provocative examination of the long-term effects of colonization and how Indigenous ways of know can light the way back.

Decolonizing Sport edited by Janice Forsyth, Christine O’Bonsawin, Russell Field, and Murray G. Phillips. Fernwood Publishing, 2023. A collection of stories of sport colonizing Indigenous Peoples and of Indigenous Peoples using sport to decolonize.

Moon of the Turning Leaves by Sudbury based author Waubgeshig Rice – “a brooding story of survival, resilience, Indigenous identity and rebirth.”

Medicine Wheel for the Planet by Dr. Jennifer Grenz – March 2024 – “. . . can completely change how we approach science using both Indigenous and Western perspectives and how we can work collaboratively to help foster balance in nature.”

And from the Mod’s Book Squad The Mod’s Book Squad | The United Church of Canada (united-church.ca):
The Other Side of the River: From Church Pew to Sweat Lodge by Alf Dumont – June 27, Alf Dumont will be a guest – “a powerful memoir offers a fresh perspective on identity and belonging in Canada. Alf walks between the two worlds of Indigenous and settler, traditional spirituality and Christianity.”

True Reconciliation: How to Be a Force for Change by Jody Wilson-Raybould. McClelland & Stewart, 2022  – “a groundbreaking and accessible roadmap to advancing true reconciliation across Canada”

Our Home and Treaty Land: Walking Our Creation Story by Raymond Aldred and Matthew Anderson. Woodlake, 2022.

Truth Telling: Seven Conversations about Indigenous Life in Canada by Michelle Good. Harper Collins Publishers Ltd. , 2023.

Words have a Past: English language colonialism and the newspapers of Indian boarding schools https://cityoftoronto.myshopify.com/collections/books/products/words-have-a-past-the-english-language-colonialism-and-the-newspapers-of-indian-boarding-schools

Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Children

The Manitoba government has given environmental approval to a planned search for the remains of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran in the Prairie Green Landfill, a privately run facility north of Winnipeg. The two First Nations women are believed to have been taken to the landfill after they were killed in the spring of 2022. https://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.7231848

Sacred Responsibility: Searching for the Missing Children and Unmarked Burials Interim Report by the Special Interlocutor. June 2023.
“For the child taken, For the parent left behind.” This Interim Report examines the current Canadian legal framework and identifies significant limitations and gaps that create barriers for Survivors, Indigenous families, and communities as they lead search and recovery efforts to find the missing children and unmarked burials.


2SLGBTQ+ Pride

Every year 2SLGBTQ+ Pride and National Indigenous History share the same month of June. “In the beginning, Turtle Island was queer. Put another way, gender and sexuality were not understood in binary, “either/or” terms before the arrival of Europeans.” The Canadian Museum for Human Rights explores this intersectional gift:



Countering Online Hate Against Indigenous Peoples https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgNfo0H5tsE

Performance for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women with music by A Tribe Called Red. No More Stolen Sisters. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_vqlZJofo0

The Power of the Land with poetry by Duke Redbird and music by Sultans of String and Twin Flames. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tw7EPXtfT3w&list=RDTw7EPXtfT3w&start_radio=1


“Why Reconcile?” “Why should non-Indigenous Canadians want reconciliation? What is the benefit to us?” Sandi Boucher, a proud member of Seine River First Nation in Treaty #3 territory in Thunder Bay, offers her challenging thoughts on reconciliation by non-Indigenous folks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hM5bsirMhVU


Kuper Island. 8 part series about the Kuper Island residential school by broadcaster Duncan McCue. https://www.cbc.ca/listen/cbc-podcasts/1062-kuper-island?gclid=CjwKCAjw-b-kBhB-EiwA4fvKrPYGYkwnwyDb1L8ZJvB3RTVq4WtTEWZb9S1r55BqdYCXUeXa7z1bWRoC1hwQAvD_BwE

Spirit to Soar: Mashkawi-manidoo bimaadiziwin. By Tanya Talaga https://www.cbc.ca/passionateeye/episodes/spirit-to-soar

Spirit to Soar: Where We Come From.  A companion podcast to Tanya Talaga’s first podcat. https://www.cbc.ca/listen/cbc-podcasts/1021-spirit-to-soar-where-we-come-from

Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s Residential School.  Cree Journalist Connie Walker uncovers the family story   https://gimletmedia.com/shows/stolen


Staff Support

Melody Duncanson-Hales

Melody Duncanson-Hales

Minister, Community of Faith Support

Phone: 1-833-236-0281 Ext. 4
Email: MDuncanson-Hales@united-church.ca

Serves in: Canadian Shield Regional Council

Location: Teleworks from home

Role: Melody provides support for the region by encouraging and connecting communities of faith as they adapt and experiment in changing times.

Contact Melody about: Community Ministries, Congregational Finance, Covenants, Grants, Property, and Transitions - amalgamations, collaboration, closures.

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