Mormons Seek Truth and Reconciliation Through First Nations Events

Mormons Seek Truth and Reconciliation Through First Nations Events

News Story

On Saturday, June 10, 2017, First Nations food, music and dancing could be found in a welcoming place — a Mormon meetinghouse.

This celebration of culture was one of two events held in Langley, British Columbia, over the weekend hosted by the B.C. Co-ordinating Council for Public Affairs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in conjunction with the Surrey and Abbotsford Interfaith Councils.

The two events, the academic lectures and the cultural event, sought to enlighten the community on matters pertaining to the findings of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

Upon completing its findings, the TRC issued 94 separate calls to action directed toward governments, churches, educational institutions and the general public of Canada. Among these is the call for “leaders of the church parties to the Settlement Agreement and all other faiths, in collaboration with Indigenous spiritual leaders” to teach the need to “respect Indigenous spirituality” and to educate congregations about the “history and legacy of residential schools.”

The academic lectures entitled “What’s Truth? What’s Reconciliation?” were held at the Langley, B.C., campus of Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

In attendance at the academic lectures were several community and education leaders. Councillor Petrina Arnason of the Township of Langley said she “found the lectures very uplifting and encouraging.”

Another local leader, Councillor Rudy Storteboom from the City of Langley, offered, “These kinds of events are important for the community to help build relationships of trust between all peoples.”

The academic lectures began with a smudge ceremony performed by Farley Antoine (Lekeyten), an elder from the local Kwantlen Band. Featured speakers at the event included Isabel Jackson, co-founder of the Aboriginal Lawyers Forum of the Canadian Bar Association of British Columbia, and John Borrows, the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Victoria and 2017 recipient of the Killam Prize. Samantha Urano, a lawyer of Metis heritage, moderated the event.

After the lectures, more than one hundred attendees joined a “friendship circle” and danced along with the performers at the evening cultural event.

      

The cultural display for the community included drumming and dancing by the Point family dancers.

During the event, Borrows, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and an internationally recognized expert on the TRC, encouraged those in attendance to “seek healing through sharing and caring with and for each other as brothers and sisters and as children in the Creator’s family.”

“Speak with members of indigenous communities rather than their enemies to help with understanding them,” said Borrows, paraphrasing Krister Stendahl, a Swedish theologian, scholar and professor at the Harvard Divinity School. He also encouraged attendees to find elements and traditions of any ethnic or religious group they admire.

Both events highlighted important teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to show love to God by loving our fellow men.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.