(L to R): Lori Ransom
, the Rev. Andrew Wesley, and Dawn Maracle speak at the North American Interfaith Network conference held Aug. 11 to 14 in Toronto.
The Rev. Andrew Wesley, Lori Ransom
and Dawn Maracle on Aug. 14 spoke about "Indigenous Experience and Diversity" at the North American Interfaith Network conference held at the University of Toronto's
Lori Ransom, for her part, provided conference participants with an overview of the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), where she is senior advisor responsible for churches and other faith communities.
The TRC's mandate is broader than the residential schools; part of its role is to help Canada discern a path to reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous people, she
"This is about the future of the nation, of all the rich cultures and backgrounds that now call Canada home," said Ransom
, noting that discussions around reconciliation have to include "settler societies arriving today," or new immigrants.
"It's surprising how many Canadians do not know about aboriginal people.
There's a million of us to learn from [across Canada] and in Toronto, over 70,000 by most reckoning," said Ransom
Recent immigrants who may have no knowledge of Canadian history and no connection with aboriginal people often have perceptions that are based on what they see in Hollywood movies, she
"I say to them [immigrants] that when you take your Canadian citizenship card, you're signing the treaties with us.
It kind of blows their mind…that the treaties are part and parcel of our legal relationship in Canada… we hold them as sacred because they are an expression of our relationships."
Recognizing the diversity that exists among aboriginal people, Ransom
said the TRC
works hard to ensure that traditions are respected in every territory that events are held.