My blog posts revolve around my interests and vocation as a historian: the intersection of history and contemporary church life, the intersection of history and contemporary politics, serendipitous discoveries in archives or on research trips, publications and research projects, upcoming conferences, and speaking engagements.
I also blog for two other organizations, the Canadian Baptist Historical Society and the Centre for Post-Christendom Studies.
The views expressed in these blogs represent the views of the authors, and not necessarily those of any organizations with which they are associated.
During my recent tour of the NorthWind Family Ministries (NWFM) faculties in downtown Thunder Bay I made a serendipitous discovery of some original documents hanging in a hallway.
NWFM has a vibrant and critical ministry among First Nations peoples in the north, and so, on the one hand, I should not have been surprised to see such important artifacts being displayed. On the other hand, however, I was pleasantly surprised to see them because I didn’t know that such amazing documents existed.
While these documents are not a part of the official government Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, they do deal with fundamental issues related to indigenous issues. As such, they are an important part of the overall telos towards truth and reconciliation.
One document is entitled The Covenant of the First Peoples of Canada (21 June 2006).
The other is entitled The Charter of Forgiveness and Freedom (12 June 2010).
When you read them you see a remarkable depiction of a vibrant indigenous Christian identity, a vital spiritual vision, a realistic appraisal of the past, and a hopeful dream for the future. What is most striking in the light of recent reporting of unmarked graves next to residential schools is the awareness then of such problems – and a statement of forgiveness for such wrongs. For instance, the The Charter of Forgiveness and Freedom reads in part: “We gladly share this moment with you as we break the heavy yoke of the past and walk into tomorrow unfettered by its shame. Let us find wisdom together, let us renew hope together, and let us share in the life conceived in our Creator’s heart for all of us. We forgive you.”
If reconciliation and healing is to continue, the sentiments in these two documents must be remembered and nurtured.