KAIROS calls for “right relationship”

Ed Bianchi will be presenting at Niigaan on June 8th.

KAIROS is 11 Canadian churches and religious organizations working on social justice, including Indigenous rights. Although KAIROS was formed in 2001, its Indigenous rights work stretches back to the late 60s and early 70s when churches realized that the historical relationship with Indigenous peoples had to change, and change drastically!

The change involved acknowledging that the churches’ relationship with Indigenous peoples is founded on colonial practices and attitudes. It involved shifting the focus of this relationship to the recognition and implementation of treaty and Indigenous rights; to a just, nation-to-nation relationship based on solidarity with Indigenous peoples. It involved engaging in public education and political action with governments and corporations on social, economic, environmental and cultural issues.

KAIROS calls for “right relationship” with Indigenous peoples. This means educating ourselves about how we, as churches and as settlers, have contributed to the oppression of Indigenous peoples, and how we continue to do so. It means listening and learning, dialogue and action. It means understanding the racist attitudes and policies that are at the root of current inequities and injustices. It means shining a bright light on our colonial history. It means understanding the need for systemic change.

For KAIROS, being in “right relationship” means acknowledging that we are all “treaty people” and that that means working collaboratively towards a more equitable and sustainable society. It means becoming aware of the fact that ongoing violations of Indigenous rights and sovereignty are harmful to the land and water upon which we all rely. It means understanding that injustice impacts us all and that solutions lie in working together towards our collective liberation. In short, it means realizing that, as the Anishnaabe prophecy declares, Indigenous and settler must come together to build the “8th Fire” of justice and harmony.

Ed Bianchi