Centre for Rural Community Leadership and Ministry
First Nations - Rural Neighbours friendship initiative
This CiRCLE M initiative is an effort to help close the gap between First Nations and their neighboring communities using churches in both First Nations and nearby towns as bridges for conversation and friendship building.
Our effort has been recently inspired by the experience of First Nation, Lutheran and Mennonite communities in the Laird, Saskatchewan area. The Churches have been working with the descendants of the Young Chipewyan band to press their treaty claim. Leaders in all three groups helped foster a growing friendship over time that made this joint treaty application (unique in Canada) possible.
Our project aims to stimulate this sort of friendship-building between other First Nations and their neighbouring communities to build understanding and cooperation in areas that may be of mutual benefit. We believe that in a spirit of caring and respect, churches can be one of the partners in that bridge-building since there is a relatively high level of church involvement in both rural and reserve communities (in spite of the residential schools history!).
Our aim is simply to facilitate these conversations and provide support. We want to create initial opportunities for members of adjacent rural and reserve communities to get to know each other’s stories, recognize and talk to each other on the street and on the land, develop understanding and friendship, and perhaps eventually tackle some common community issues together (e.g. youth and elder needs, school and health care cooperation, resource monitoring, and so on—whatever matters to the folks involved).
Some First Nations and town pastors have already indicated their interest. If you would like more information, or to explore the possibility of involving your congregation and community in such an exciting conversation, please contact Colleen Rickard or Cam Harder at CiRCLe M: 306-966-7867; email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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