Land Acknowledgement as Confession

Land Acknowledgement as Confession

St. George’s Anglican in Winnipeg is a church many of us at CCS are familiar with. For many years it’s where we’ve held our graduation banquet and occasionally our Annual Service of Celebration.

This month’s Rupert’s Land News contains a story about St. George’s and the work its Committee on the Land Statement has been doing to update their land acknowledgement. (Peter Flynn, referenced in the excerpt below, is a member of the committee.) Read the full article.

The committee decided to rewrite the statement as a confession rather than an acknowledgement as a way to both admit the Church’s complicity and to incorporate reconciliation as a value into their confession of faith. The confessional nature of the statement also makes it possible for it to be incorporated into liturgy. This way it can be chanted every Sunday instead of just read at the beginning of service or printed on pamphlets and written materials.

For Flynn, the purpose of confession is to ask “what does the church have to say now?” Given that both the church and the Canadian state’s complicity in cultural genocide of Indigenous peoples, the mere admission of responsibility is not enough; this confession is also a call to action.

Furthermore, Flynn describes that the confessional nature of the statement means “The church cannot [make apologies] from the point of view of us being God and saying “we were fine”—we weren’t. We’re saying we come into this equally in need of reconciliation.”

The text as currently proposed by the committee on the land statement reads:

We confess that we live, work and worship on Treaty One land, traditional territories of the Anishinaabe, Cree, and Dakota peoples and Homeland of the Red River Metis. As our nation emerges from an era of deliberate suppression of Indigenous culture, community, and economy by way of the Indian Act and the Residential School system, we as members of God’s family recognise the sins and wounds of the past and commit to the work of restitution and restoration in a spirit of truth and reconciliation.

St. George’s Anglican

Comments: 1

  1. Hubert Den Draak says:

    Very good and very helpful in its approach; thank you.

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