Leadership development of Canadian aboriginal leaders

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It began as a notion a few months ago: having Canadian Christian business leaders connect with Christian aboriginal leaders in Canada's north. I wear a hat as executive director of the Canadian Christian Business Federation. It dawned on me a few months ago that we tend to think about leadership development and mentoring possibilities as occurring between the global south and north. But what about the global north and the global North? What about southern Canada and northern Canada?

In a subsequent discussion with the Anglican Church of Canada's indigenous bishop who oversees almost 200 Anglican (Episcopal) churches across the North, he seemed quite eager to develop that notion. Pieces began to fall into place. The Anglican Church's Primate's World Relief and Development Fund was looking for leadership development projects among indigenous peoples (aboriginals) in Canada's north. Global Legacy Strategies is a highly qualified and respected deliverer of leadership development tools.

Membership in the Canadian Christian Business Federation (CCBF) has grown by more than 35 per cent over the past year, spreading across Canada. Its members long to be connected to each other but more importantly they long to become engaged in meaningful mentoring opportunities. Imagine having Christian business leaders in Canada's south becoming connected through meaningful relationships with Christian aboriginal business leaders in the North! Imagine the cultural awareness! Imagine the mentoring that will take place ... both ways!

Partnerships are emerging. A growing network of Christian business leaders are members of the CCBF. Organizations such as the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund, the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, Mission Aviation Fellowship and Global Legacy Strategies have all become members of the Canadian Christian Business Federation.

What will soon emerge is an intentional connection between two Christian business communities ... in Canada's south and in Canada's north.

What other opportunities will emerge? What other partnerships will be forged?

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In a news release by the CRCNA press office advises that churches (CrCNA) want to start an aboriginal educational reconciliation discussion in the church. I have trouble seeing a role for the church in this area. History is not exactly in accord here. This type of discussion belongs somewhere else and the CCBF might be a much better place.

The Feds were already well under way when the process was stopped because Chief Atleo could not get the support he needed to carry on.

 

 

Thanks for this hopeful piece Keith.  I too have had the privilege of working with Bishop MacDonald - a gracious and wise leader in the church.  CCBF's ideas for linking with leaders in Indigenous communities are an exciting contribution to reconciliation - which is fundamentally about build relationships between people.

Mr. Bossenkool:  Thanks for your comments here and on the CRC News article about the efforts for reconciliation in Indigenous Education.  I certainly understand the concern you raise about the churches and Indigenous Education - after all the Church was part of an education system that abused children and tore families apart for 7 generations in the residential schools.  But in this harsh reality, there is incredible grace too.  For instance, as far back as the 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal People, Indigenous People themselves have been saying that Churches must play a role in healing and reconciliation.  This has been echoed many times in the proceedings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on residential schools.  In turning away from the evils of our past, the church can model repentance by seeking reconciled relationships with our neighbors.

Indigenous education reform is also something where that repentance and reconciliation can be modeled. This is not at all to say that the churches should return to running education in Indigenous communities. It is rather, a chance for us to affirm the truth of our broken history and the need for Indigenous communities to take their rightful leadership in educating and protecting their children.  I've heard from Indigenous leaders many times that there is excellent knowledge about how to rebuild education in their communities.  The problem is the lack of political will and the indifference of the Canadian public.  So, in this purported 'era of reconciliation' its important for us to bear witness to the need for reconciliation in education - indeed its critical  when we consider the fact that there are huge disparities in the funding of Indigenous kids (on reserve) when compared with non-Indigenous kids in Provincial systems. 

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