teachings and values have taught us to uphold the Sacred Fire;
to be guardians of Mother Earth, and strive to maintain harmony and peaceful coexistence with all peoples.
We only ask of you to respect our Sacred Fire, the Creation,
and to live in peaceful coexistence with us. We recognize
the hurts and feelings will continue amongst our people, but
through partnership and walking hand in hand, the Indian
spirit will eventually heal. Through our love, understanding, and sincerity the brotherhood and sisterhood of unity,
strength, and respect can be achieved.
The Native People of The All Native Circle Conference hope
and pray that the Apology is not symbolic but that these are
the words of action and sincerity. We appreciate the freedom
for culture and religious expression. In the new spirit this
Apology has created, let us unite our hearts and minds in the
wholeness of life that the Great Spirit has given us.
All: Open our hearts and our minds to receive this message given in love and hope.
One: Thirty years later we are still waiting to see what the
apology means. What effect has it had? Have relationships
changed? How have we acted? What healing remains to be
done? The church has taken many steps, but many of us
still wonder what the apology really means.
All: We are not there yet—not all is forgiven or made
whole between us. Great Spirit, unite us as we continue
to walk towards justice, reconciliation, being family, and
living with respect in creation.
WORDS OF ASSURANCE
God, who hears our every prayer, moves with us in every
dance step, and knows our every thought, says to us: See, I
am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth! (Isaiah 43: 19)
Know that you are forgiven. Walk from here healed and free.
The Rev. Susan Beaver is the minister at Grand River
Pastoral Charge, Ohsweken, Ontario.
Any errors or omissions are not meant to cause harm,
rather are the limitations of the writer, the Rev. Susan
We confused Western ways and culture with the depth
and breadth and length and height of the gospel of Christ.
We imposed our civilization as a condition of accepting
We tried to make you be like us and in so doing we
helped to destroy the vision that made you what you were.
As a result, you, and we, are poorer and the image of the
Creator in us is twisted, blurred, and we are not what we
are meant by God to be.
We ask you to forgive us and to walk together with us in
the Spirit of Christ so that our peoples may be blessed and
God’s creation healed.
One: After hearing the apology, the people danced. One
man said he danced as he never had danced before. He
hadn’t dared to hope that the church would apologize. But
the apology and the dance turned the whole church in a
new direction on the path of history. As the people danced,
the clouds disappeared, the sky cleared, and the moon
shone. It seemed that all of creation and our Creator celebrated this new thing.
All: All glory is yours, God most Holy.
One: The next morning, the Elders advised the Indigenous
people to simply acknowledge the apology. They told the
people to take the apology back home for the people to hear
and discern what it means to live into the apology, and that
we are entering a time that would not be easy.
All: God of wisdom and grace, continue to walk with us.
One: In 1988, at the 32nd General Council in Victoria, Elder
Edith Memnook, a lay commissioner for the recently formed
All Native Circle Conference, offered this response to the
The Apology made to the Native People of Canada by The
United Church of Canada in Sudbury in August 1986 has been
a very important step forward. It is heartening to see that
The United Church of Canada is a forerunner in making this
Apology to Native People. The All Native Circle Conference has
now acknowledged your Apology. Our people have continued
Dignity for All workshop
(continued from page 31)
(facilitator leads, participants join in
As we walk the paths of our life,
We give thanks that we can all
walk with each other.
As we move along the roads of our
We mark your moments of justice
and peace in our times.
As we travel the highways of the principalities and powers,
We pray for strength to resist their
temptations and trials.
Grant us memory not to forget your
Grant us wisdom to discern and
understand your people and your
Grant us patience to listen.
And grant us courage to challenge.
Grant us sufficient grace to be
And grant us passion to be relentless in our work for justice and
peace in this journey from life to
life with our neighbours.
—David Pfrimmer, Waterloo Lutheran
Seminary; printed in Living Justice
Darlene O’Leary is the Socioeconomic Policy Analyst with Citizens
for Public Justice.