Honoring the land heritage indigenous people every day

Today is a day of clergy action at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation where water protectors have joined more than 200 indigenous nations opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline. Violence has been a significant response since late last week. Our prayer is that we will come through this time of crisis.

And so, how do we continue when this fight for rights is off the news feed? R. Matthew Stevens shares these words of ongoing acknowledgment made a church — every week in the bulletin — that the very place they worship has a deeper history of spirituality and that is was unfairly taken. The second statement is from a larger judicatory, a Presbytery in this case.

If this constant acknowledgment were to take place and become a part of hearts and minds, perhaps something like the Dakota Pipeline could never be even considered to violate sacred land and threaten the water of life.  

We acknowledge with respect the history, spirituality, and culture of the people of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation, upon whose traditional territory we gather this morning. Aamjiwnaang is an Anishinaabemowin word meaning “the gathering place by the rapids at the foot of Lake Huron”. This land is part of Crown Treaty #29, through the Huron Tract Purchase of 1836, consisting of roughly one million acres in southwestern Ontario surrendered for settlement. We acknowledge our ongoing responsibility as Treaty members, and also honour the heritage and gifts of Métis people.

As we gather together to be about the work that properly comes before Lambton Presbytery, we acknowledge this sacred land. It has been a site of human activity for well over 15,000 years. Within the boundaries of present-day Lambton Presbytery, is the home territory of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation, the Kettle Point First Nation, and the Stoney Point First Nations.
We thank them for their stewardship of Mother Earth, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to gather in community on this territory. We are also mindful of broken covenants and the need to strive to make right relations with all our relations. We also intentionally honour the heritage and gifts of Métis people. To this ongoing process of reconciliation we intentionally pledge ourselves as dedicated participants.

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