Saturday, June 19, 2010

Encouragement of the Day

Hi Girls,

Here is just a quick note of encouragement for today. Philippians 4:13 "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." In whatever you are going through, remember to lean on God because he will give you the strength to do get through it and complete the task before you. Don't despair or feel defeated because you can do 'Everything' by the power and strength of Christ Jesus. It's not us, it's God. Pressures off eh? How wonderful. Thank you Jesus!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Forgiven Summit 2010

Hey Girls,

This past weekend we went with my parents to Ottawa to see the Forgiven Summit. We didn't get to all the sessions as it covered 3 days but we were able to see a lot. It was very interesting.

Two years ago the Prime Minister extended an apology on behalf of the government of Canada to the First Nations, Inuit and Metis people. He apologized for the assimilation policy and the treatment they received in the residential schools. This conference was their way of responding to it.

These residential schools ran from about the late 1800s to mid-late 1900s but I couldn't find actual dates because different schools opened and closed at different times. Anyway, these schools were often church run and government supported but they caused so many harmful results for communities and individuals. The schools were unfunded and thus, proper education, food and clothing was a huge issue. Students had to work to support themselves in the school and they often suffered emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Sometimes they were forcibly separated from their families, taken far from their communities. They were not allowed to speak their first languages or practice their cultural activities. The schools were designed to 'kill the Indian in the child' and make them more white. Many children died in those schools and never returned home. For many who did, they were so effected by their years in the school that they were unable to be proper parents to their own kids or live purposefully. Traditional practices suffered greatly as generations went through the schools, forcibly having to forget their own culture and beliefs. They didn't know who they were anymore, what their heritage was but yet, they also knew they were not white.

As you can imagine, First Nations, Inuit and Metis were greatly effected by this and well, a ton of conflict arose. Which is why this conference was so important. On the first night (which we missed), I guess they were  offered apologies. The following day, each group extended their forgiveness to the government and the church. They even gave gifts as a way of expressing their forgiveness. There were people from government there, such as the Minister of Indian Affairs I believe.

Then there was the freedom. After all the forgiveness was dealt with, and they signed a new charter on freedom and forgiveness among the elders, they celebrated the freedom that they now had as well as the partnership with the rest of Canada to work towards a better future. It was really neat to see Native dances, costumes, and hear their drums. They expressed their worship to God using their own language. It was amazing to have everybody in the stadium worshiping God together, integrating Native ways of worship with white ways. Sometimes songs were sang in English, sometimes in Native languages and sometimes in French. It was great because it made me think that this is how worship to God was meant to be, everyone expressing themselves in purity and honesty to God, using what holds meaning to them.

This whole thing was a huge step for Canada and it really shows the amazing character of the Native peoples. They made an excellent example of what forgiveness means, as well as the freedom and healing that accompany it. They set themselves free, opening the door for God to work so many possibilities in their lives. While recognizing at the same time, how God forgives us all and made it possible for us to live free and restored.