As P2C-Students continues to grow in our understanding of issues of racism within Canada, and its impact on our local communities and students, we are choosing to move forward with a practice of sharing land acknowledgement statements within our local ministry contexts, starting September 1, 2021. This practice is a first step to honour and acknowledge the Indigenous communities where we minister.
Below are some of the elements that have contributed to this decision. They help form how we, as P2C-Students, understand our relationship with Indigenous peoples within Canada and why we hope to engage with the practice of land acknowledgements in the context of our ministry.
1. We affirm that the historical treaties and land agreements made between settlers and the Indigenous peoples of Canada were often not followed, honoured, or set up in equitable and fair ways—thus benefiting settlers over the Indigenous peoples of Canada.
2. In modern Western cultures, land ownership is primarily understood in terms of its economic value; we acknowledge that in many other cultures, land is understood as having historic and symbolic significance. For most Indigenous communities within Canada, there is a deep cultural and spiritual connection to their traditional lands.
3. We affirm that it is not within the rights of an individual to displace and/or rob another person of their home, land, or property. Although it is not within our jurisdiction as a ministry to directly solve the ongoing issues and tensions around land claims and property ownership, we believe that God calls us to love others above ourselves. This includes honouring Indigenous peoples’ connection and claim to the land of their ancestors.
4. We acknowledge that there has been significant trauma perpetrated against Indigenous people in Canada by our government and sadly by some Christian churches who facilitated and operated residential schools.
5. We believe a practice of land acknowledgements is one way to confess the sins committed against Indigenous peoples in Canada, both historically and presently. We see the act of acknowledging the past sins of a society in Scripture. For example, in Daniel chapter 9 the prophet Daniel confesses and laments over the sin of his people and ancestors.
6. As we seek to love our neighbours by contextualizing Jesus’ message of reconciliation, we acknowledge our context is one of larger national and international conversations in relation to Indigenous peoples. This includes the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which calls on faith groups to participate in reconciliation, stating:
48. We call upon the church parties to the Settlement Agreement, and all other faith groups and interfaith social justice groups in Canada who have not already done so, to formally adopt and comply with the principles, norms, and standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation.
49. We call upon all religious denominations and faith groups who have not already done so to repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous lands and peoples, such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius.
As a ministry, we are in the process of navigating how we will continue to engage with, and respond to, the calls to action above.
7. We believe that acknowledging the traditional territories of the Indigenous people of Canada does not subtract from the message of the gospel, nor does it violate any doctrinal position affirmed by P2C-Students.
8. Jesus demonstrated his care for all people throughout his ministry. We believe it would be appropriate to follow his example by making intentional efforts to reach out to the Indigenous community with the love of the gospel. We believe one way we can love our Indigenous neighbours is by simply acknowledging historical land claims within the context of our ministry activities.
If you have any questions regarding this please contact email@example.com. For further reading, and to learn how to make a land acknowledgement, check out this resource page. To see examples of land acknowledgements from universities across Canada, see this guide. For a map to help you understand the ancestral claims to the land you live on, please explore native-land.ca.
The National Leadership Team of P2C-Students