[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] Anglican churches throughout Canada have been asked to stage a public recitation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples today – the National Aboriginal Day of Prayer. The Anglican Church of Canada designated 21 June as the National Aboriginal Day of Prayer in response to the 48th Call to Action from the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Archbishop Fred Hiltz has asked all churches to hold a public reading of the declaration on the Day of Prayer or on the Sunday nearest to it; accompanied by “appropriate prayers and ceremonies in keeping with Indigenous spiritual traditions.”
The declaration was formally adopted by the Canadian government on 10 May last year. The declaration sets out the rights of indigenous people around the world on issues such as culture, self-determination, language, health, education, and resources. It is a “foundational framework for reconciliation and for securing the rights of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people in Canada,” the Anglican Church of Canada said.
“While each of the articles of the declaration is important, the guiding thread is the right to self-determination,” Canada’s national indigenous Anglican Bishop, the Rt Revd Mark MacDonald, said. “The Anglican Church of Canada has had moments where, coming close to such a recognition, there have been steps forward towards realizing a new relationship within this understanding.
“Fully complying with the UN Declaration will mean more consistent and genuine progress toward lasting self-determination for the indigenous church, in such a way that can nurture creative relationships of equity and mutuality across the whole church.”
The Anglican Church of Canada has produced a number of resources to help Anglicans celebrate the National Aboriginal Day of Prayer. These are available online.