The Anglican Indigenous Network (AIN) is asking the Anglican Communion to help Indigenous churches in provinces around the globe achieve greater self-determination and self-sustainability, the Anglican Journal reports. A Communique from the recent AIN gathering at the Six Nations Reserve on the Grand River Territory of the Haudenosaunee peoples in Canada, states,
We affirm our self-determination within our cultural contexts and church structures. As indigenous peoples we share the common experience of living within the psychological and physical realities of intergenerational trauma resulting from historical genocide and ongoing forces of occupation. These realities include isolation, marginalization, theft of land and resources, denial of political sovereignty and loss of socio-cultural heritage and identity. As Indigenous Anglican Christians, we experience ourselves to be a minority within a minority. Consequently, our ability to gather together provides mutual support, the opportunity to share strategies for addressing common issues confronting our communities
The Communique addresses such issues as Climate Change, Historical and Intergenerational Trauma, Resources and the Environment, Sovereignty and Treaty Rights, and calls the Anglican Communion to specific actions:
– We call upon the Provinces of the Anglican Communion to adopt and implement in the life of the Communion, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
– We call upon the Anglican Communion to support and resource efforts toward self-determination and self-sustainability
– We request financial support from the Anglican Communion Office in order to advance the causes of AIN, including the work of reconciliation with and within the Anglican Communion
– We request AIN representation on the Anglican Consultative Council
– We call upon the Provinces of the Anglican Communion to support adequate care and training for indigenous clergy and laity dealing with compassion fatigue and the effects of vicarious trauma
– We request that the Provinces of the Anglican Communion provide a report on indigenous ministries within their province
– We call upon the Anglican Consultative Council to identify an observer to visit Torres Strait, witness the effects of climate change, and report to the Standing Committee of the ACC 3
– We invite the Anglican Consultative Council to send an official observer to attend the next AIN meeting, to be held in Hawaii in 2019
– We invite the Primates of our indigenous Provinces to meet with the AIN and join with us on our ongoing journey of reconciliation and faith.
The Anglican Journal spoke to a delegate from the Episcopal Church:
The Rev. Lewis Powell, an Episcopal Church representative from the diocese of Northern California, said that even though each province of the Communion has representation at the international level, it is important for Indigenous people to be able to express their concerns directly.
“We could have a voice through our bishops and other leaders, but I think it is important to hear the voice undiluted from Indigenous peoples themselves,” he said.