The federal government’s commitment to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a potential watershed moment. Dr. Bruce McIvor, lawyer and historian, explores why Canada’s commitment to reconciliation has so far fallen short of the mark and what needs to be done to make it a reality.
Above: Rally and street theatre outside the offices of the DFO in downtown Vancouver calling for an end to fish farms in the Discovery Islands
From the constituency office of MP Terry Beech, to a Wild Salmon Die-in at the DFO, the Wild Salmon Action Team joined one hundred and one BC First Nations calling for the removal of fish farms from the Discovery Islands
A future where Unitarian Universalist congregations actively work on dismantling racism: that’s what we’re focusing on. The CUC’s Dismantling Racism Study Group needs your help. We’ve put together this short survey to find out where we’re at, and where we could go. Give us 15 minutes of your time today to honestly tell us about what you’ve observed in your own congregation – we’d really appreciate it.
Click the link to go directly to the survey!
The recent RCMP raids of Wet’suwet’en land defenders in northwestern British Columbia has provoked widespread rallies, blockades and protests, world-wide media coverage, public statements by First Nations, politicians, industry, labour, and the public. In view of these developments, we think it timely and important to restate the initial position taken by the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) on January 10, 2019:
CUC Pledges Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en
The Canadian Unitarian Council has joined thousands of organizations and individuals pledging solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, who are blocking the development of a Coastal GasLink pipeline on their traditional territories in northwestern British Columbia:
- WE COMMEND the courage and vision of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and their community of activists.
- WE ARE WATCHING across the province, country and internationally.
- WE DENOUNCE any attempt by Coastal GasLink Pipeline, the federal government, provincial government or RCMP to interfere in the rights of the Wet’suwet’en to occupy, manage or maintain their lands.
- WE URGE that any and all actions taken by the federal and provincial government, industry, and policing agencies must be consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Anuk Nu’at’en (Wet’suwet’en laws) and collective Title.
- WE PLEDGE support to the frontline land defenders and affirm the collective hereditary governance of the Wet’suwet’en who are enforcing Wet’suwet’en laws on their unceded lands.
Obviously, the situation has continued to evolve since last year. We recognise this is a complex matter and many of us bring strong opinions and passionate voices to the conversation—given our Unitarian Universalist principles and history, that is how it should be. We recognise, as well, quoting the Afro-American abolitionist Frederick Douglass, that “if there is no struggle, there is no progress” for “power concedes nothing without a demand.”
While we reaffirm the January 10, 2019 CUC Statement pledging solidarity with Wet’suwet’en, we urge Canadian Unitarian Universalists to reflect on how we live our faith and convictions when interests and constituencies are polarized. We urge each other to live our principles. May our actions be guided by respect for each other’s dignity, by compassion and empathy, by the voice of conscience and reason, by a desire for justice and equity, and by a deep respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
We urge Canadian Unitarian Universalists to read and become familiar with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples—our nation is a signatory to this Declaration; many of its articles clarify and promote the work of reconciliation and de-colonialisation which we dare hope is still alive in Canada today and will be for generations to come.
At least ten Vancouver Unitarians were among the 350 person sell-out crowd on June 21 at the Canadian Memorial Church to participate in the Vancouver stop of the Green New Deal for All cross-Canada tour.
All the presenters were passionate, well informed, and inspiring. It was a great event, part of the grass roots movement that started with over 150 town hall meetings across Canada – including a full house event with about 100 people at UCV on May 24.
Support for the Green New Deal (GND) is rising up across this country with the intention to become a powerful voice in the coming federal election.
The entire Green New Deal for All event was video taped and posted online, or you can watch it below. The table shows the time for each presentation to help you navigate through this nearly 3 hour long video.
00:00 -- 07:15 Intro Slides 07:15 -- 09:00 MC Anjali Appadurai 09:00 -- 18:40 Chief Reuben George, Tsleil-Waututh Nation 18:40 -- 21:00 Green New Deal 21:00 -- 26:40 Remarks by Anjali 26:40 -- 41:20 Youth-led Chant 41:20 -- 1:04:30 David Suzuki 1:04:30 -- 1:24:00 Kanahus Manuel, Indigenous Activist 1:24:00 -- 1:45:10 Harsha Walia, Activist and Writer 1:45:10 -- 1:47:30 Youth-led Chant 1:47:30 -- 2:10:10. Kim Mortel, Poet and Singer 2:10:10 -- 2:42:35. Avi Lewis, The LEAP 2:42:35 -- 2:44:00. Presenters' Tributes
Through snapshots of turning points in her life, Nan Gregory will attempt to reconstruct her journey to the Kinder Morgan Tank Farm Gates to stand up for a just and honourable Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. She’s grateful to share with you her discomfort and excitement transiting countless open questions regarding culture, history and honour, ever seeking the ideal of a moral world.
Woven Together Register Now
The dates of the Truth and Healing series are:
- October 1, 15, and 22, November 5, 19, and 26 and December 3 (at 9:30 am), and 10.
Keith joined our congregation in 1998 after a period of limited religious affiliations that never quite fit. He had an introverted spiritual inclination, a prairie farm background that made him feel close to the earth, and an interdisciplinary academic background in educational psychology, anthropology and linguistics and lots of international travel that brought him into contact with various world religions. He adhered to Judaism for a while, but it didn’t resonate with his own childhood experience of the transcendent. UU was a much more comfortable fit.
Much of Keith’s working life was committed to administration in post-secondary education, health care, justice and public safety. At UCV he joined the Worship Services Committee, and then the Board – first as Treasurer and eventually as President. Subsequently he provided volunteer support and leadership in human resources, communications, covenant groups, and most recently the UCV Membership Committee.
Keith was elected to the board of the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) in 2015 and served as President of the CUC in 2016 and 2017. The CUC provides another level of UU community working nationally and globally, linked to the Vancouver community through our Bylaws, and linked philosophically through a shared vision of a world in which our interdependence calls us to love and justice.
Keith has been trying to focus his attention in recent days and years on being a better partner, appreciating the good fortunes of his life, contributing as best he can to reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous people living in Canada, trying to become more skillful in mindfulness and compassionate communications, supporting sustainable energy initiatives, staying physically active (skiing, walking, cycling, gym, walking the dog), pondering mortality, and, in the background, continuing his oldest passion and spiritual practice, writing poetry.