Indigenous-Settler Relations

Indigenous-Settler Relations helps Mennonite communities grow in our awareness of host peoples and nurture justice-based friendships. Our aim is to honour the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and live into the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as we pursue the costly path of Christ.

Mennonite Church Canada's Indigenous-Settler Relations program works to support interested congregations congregations and regional working groups through prayerful dialogue, sharing of educational and financial resources, and collective action. We help connect constituent communities to Indigenous and settler persons, teachers, theological and social justice organizations that can be of help, and who are interested in pursuing peace and justice together.

Critical to this work is Indigenous theological learning - theology not simply for native peoples, but for non-natives too. The Mennonite expression of Christian faith is beautiful and has incredible strengths, but it’s been deeply impacted by colonial thinking and practices. Together, we need to re-think aspects of settler Christianity to discover a gospel that is more faithful to both host people and this “home and native” land that we share. 

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ISR News

Courageous conversation is a big part of this work. To foster deeper understanding and break down walls that keep us apart, we explore basic, but critical questions:

  • Do we know the host people in the particular lands in which we live?
  • What kinds of histories and present relationships do we have? and why?
  • How does colonialism continue to shape and impact the Indigenous-Settler relationship?
  • How do we respectfully connect and centre the priorities of suffering peoples?
  • What are the issues – ‘our’ issues – that keep us apart and need “undoing”?
  • How can we learn from Indigenous strengths and walk in joyful solidarity?

 In all things, the hope of Indigenous-Settler Relations is reconciliation. Reconciliation is a huge word, easily used and abused by the Church. Yet through relationships of growing integrity, we hope to walk a little further towards this dream.

Ideas & feedback

Indigenous-Settler Relations would love to hear your ideas, wisdom, and dreams related to the work that we are doing, and what we could do to strengthen it. Please send your thoughts to Steve Heinrichs.

Email Steve Heinrichs

Events

Canada at Crossroads online book club

What are the things that separate and unite Indigenous and settler peoples? What can we do to challenge structural racism and repair the broken relationship? Join Steve Heinrichs for an online book club this fall, exploring the new book Canada at a Crossroads by sociologist Jeff Denis. Beginning Oct. 8, we’ll gather by Zoom each Thursday at 7 p.m. (CST) for 8 weeks for a circle conversation, sharing with each other our questions and learnings, our hearts and hopes. Together, we’ll seek to understand how we might nurture Treaty friendships.