I recently came across this incredible website called ‘Native Land’ that maps out traditional lands of Indigenous peoples in North America and Australia. You can easily look up the traditional territory, languages, and treaties that cover almost every part of the US and Canada. All you have to do is enter your address in the search bar.
In Canada, the CRC has made a commitment to the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In particular, the church has made commitments to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as a framework for reconciliation. Territory acknowledgement is a way that you and your church community can begin to act on these commitments by bringing awareness of Indigenous history and land rights to your congregation and to your neighbourhood.
Acknowledging territory is an important step for us to take in Indigenous - Settler reconciliation. It helps us understand our history and legacy of colonialism. But it can easily become a token practice with little meaningful action. How can we as Christians live out this ministry of reconciliation?
The Canadian ministries of the CRC has been equipping local congregations with the tools take these steps. From worship materials, to small group studies, to advocacy materials, to speakers and workshops, there is something for everyone in the journey of reconciliation. Visit the CRC Aboriginal Justice webpage to get started.
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. - Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV)
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. - 2 Corinthians 5:18 (NIV)