Icon (Close Menu)

Indigenous Day of Remembrance Authorized

The House of Deputies on June 27 overwhelmingly approved adding an annual remembrance of Indigenous children who were taken from their homes and enrolled in assimilationist boarding schools, in a decades-long effort to “Kill the Indian and save the man.” The House of Bishops had already approved the same measure.

In a moving presentation, deputies from the Diocese of South Dakota led the gathering in reciting a prayer developed for use in the annual remembrance and on other occasions. The prayer begins with a declaration in the Dakota language:

A Prayer to Remember the Innocents

Ohiŋni wičhauŋkiksuyapi kte. ”We will always remember them.”

Dear Lord, Almighty God, we pray for all Indigenous children who were in residential and boarding schools in Canada and the United States.  Some died there; we ask that you give assurance to their descendants that their souls are with you and their ancestors. Some survived there; we ask that you give your healing grace to all who endured hardship while there and are still struggling with those memories. Lastly, we ask you to help us guard our children against harm in this world. All this we ask in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music will consult with Indigenous groups to select an appropriate day on the Church Calendar for the remembrance.

In May 2021, a tribe in Canada announced it had found a mass grave of 215 children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. Since then, horrific accounts have emerged of the abuse of children at other boarding schools.

The Episcopal Church and other religious denominations operated some of the boarding schools, which were intended to forcibly assimilate children by separating them from their families, native languages, and customs.

Shortly before General Convention, TLC published a lengthy account of the Episcopal Church’s involvement in boarding schools. While the boarding school concept was intrinsically abusive, some schools were more benign than others in the way they treated children.

In many hours of research for the earlier article, TLC did not encounter any anecdotal evidence of severe abuse at schools affiliated with the Episcopal Church. Such stories may be out there. If so, they may emerge in the multi-year research into the issue that was mandated by the 2022 General Convention.

The research started with an allocation of $225,000, and the Executive Council subsequently took advantage of a budget surplus to increase the funds available for the research effort to $2 million.

An archivist has been hired to guide the work, which will involve researching the archives of dioceses throughout the church. Much more information is available in TLC’s article.

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

Top headlines. Every Friday.

MOST READ

CLASSIFIEDS

Most Recent

Bishops Respond to Former President’s Shooting

Episcopal Church leaders responded to news of a bullet grazing former President Donald Trump's ear at a Pennsylvania campaign rally July 13 with calls to prayer and calming words for a troubled nation.

Sandra Folts (1942-2024) and Anne Harris (1932-2024)

Two bishops’ wives have died in recent weeks, and both were praised for their warm presence and the lives they led.

Revised Plans Help Christchurch Cathedral Reinstatement

Only a few months ago, Bishop Peter Carrell of Christchurch, New Zealand, said the project to rebuild the...

7/28 Issue Online

The July 30 General Convention News issue of The Living Church is available online to registered subscribers.