Indigenous Day of Prayer

The Medicine Wheel representing the four directions is featured in the United Church crest. Where else have you seen this symbol of Indigenous spirituality?

Many of our United Churches are settler churches, and this blog post was created by white settlers. We want to honour and celebrate our Indigenous siblings, and the Indigenous church, on June 20th–the Indigenous Day of Prayer–but we need to do so with sensitivity and respect. So, what are some all-ages activities settler faith communities can do to celebrate? Here are a few suggestions from two white-settlers to you.

Discover whose land you are a guest on

Do you know the name of the traditional caretakers of where you live? Take the time to look it up and learn their names. You can start by visiting native-land.ca and using their interactive map.

Learn about the history of Residential Schools

Check-out some of these books for children which tell stories about the residential school experience.

Find the nearest residential school in your area with this interactive map.

Visit the National Residential School Memorial Register from the National Center for Truth & Reconciliation (University of Manitoba). You can search for students by school or name.

A nurse checking a girl’s throat at the segregated Frobisher Bay Federal Hospital in Iqaluit, Nunavut, in a 1959 archive photo. Photo colourized by Sharla Lawyer-Lawrence.

Advocate for the investigation of former residential schools for unmarked graves,

Support the United Church of Canada’s Healing Fund supports healing initiatives for survivors of the residential school system and its ongoing intergenerational impacts. You can support their work by holding a fundraiser or sharing stories about their work.

Learn about Traditional Medicines

Go on an Outdoor Plant Scavenger Hunt! This activity was designed by Cheryl Graham, Indigenous Support Worker, Brooklyn.

You can also purchase traditional plant knowledge trading cards to take with you on your hikes from Strong Nations Publishing.

Look at the world differently by learning about different Indigenous teachings

Read The Elders are Watching by David Bouchard. This book shares a message from Indigenous elders about caring for the earth.

Learn about the Seven Sacred Teachings, or the Seven Grandfather Teachings by checking-out this brochure about the 7 Sacred Teachings from the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways, The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan.

Or check-out this wonderful colouring book based on the Seven Sacred Teachings by Gloria Hope.

Celebrate Indigenous Creators

Check-out Indigenous musicians, writers, performers and artists on YouTube, Tiktok, Spotify and more. Share in the comments some of your favourite artists and books!

More great activities

From twitter.

The Government of Canada is the colonizer so sharing resources from them is a struggle for us. However, we do want to encourage Canada to continue to put Indigenous peoples, history and issues at the forefront. That said, check-out this activity booklet for kids full of information about First Nations, Métis and Innuit peoples for Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21) produced by the Government of Canada.

Create a pin for Orange Shirt Day (September 20th)! You can cut it out of felt and use a safety pin, you can make one with perler beads, or bead it.

Check-out these Orange Shirt Day colouring pages by artist Hawlii Pichette.

Support Indigenous Issues

Read your local news sources to hear what’s happening in your area. You may find it helpful to look at news sources from an Indigenous perspective to discover local issues (check-out APTN, CBC Indigenous, Anishinabek News, or Indigenews).

Spirit Bear from the Caring Society.

Learn about Spirit Bear and the Caring Society‘s fight to end inequalities in public services for First Nations children, youth and families. February 14th Spirit Bear invites us to participate in Have A Heart Day to ask Canadian leaders to have a heart for Indigenous kids/teens and families.

You can also join other United Churches a they urge the Government of Canada to adopt Bill C-15 / UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Faith in the Declaration is a coalition of Canadian faith houses and faith organizations working together to support the implementation of UNDRIP. Learn more about what you can do to support the work of Faith in the Declaration and the implementation of Declaration Legislation in Canada by visiting faithinthedeclaration.ca.

4 thoughts on “Indigenous Day of Prayer

  1. Thanks Selina. I would like to recommend the CD “Muffins For Granny by Nadia McLaren who attended Manitouwadge High School where I first saw her paintings. Heard about it on good old CBC Radio Thunder Bay and donated a copy to MHS for their Indigenous Studies Class. In the casing It explains some Residential School history and she interviews seven folks with Residential School involvement including her Granny from Heron Bay. At her school she received the muffin wrappers as her treat, not the muffin!!! It is very good from 2004 perspective. My first introduction to the cruelty of what Indigenous families had to endure. Pleased with United Church apology of 35 years ago. Unfortunately the Pope and Government didn’t follow through with their reconciliation.

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