60. We call upon leaders of the church parties to the Settlement Agreement and all other faiths, in collaboration with Indigenous spiritual leaders, Survivors, schools of theology, seminaries, and other religious training centres, to develop and teach curriculum for all student clergy, and all clergy and staff who work in Aboriginal communities, on the need to respect Indigenous spirituality in its own right, the history and legacy of residential schools and the roles of the church parties in that system, the history and legacy of religious conflict in Aboriginal families and communities, and the responsibility that churches have to mitigate such conflicts and prevent spiritual violence.
In a few words: Train individuals in religious cultural safety
What does this mean in simple English?
In a religiously pluralistic country such as Canada, it is crucially important for people of different faiths to understand each other. Even if we do not all agree, we need to understand each other’s differences, and find our common ground. Indirectly, this recommendation calls all faiths to better understand each other.
More specifically, this recommendation especially calls to action Christian groups, and even more specifically churches that were involved in the residential schools system. If there is to be full reconciliation for the survivors of residential schools, church groups need to not only apologize and make amends, but also ensure the same sort of the thing never happens again. In part, as this recommendation states, this means educating future religious leaders in the differences of Indigenous culture.
From a policy perspective, this is a very difficult recommendation to universally implement, as there is no central authority to implement change in religious education. Rather, it is up to each individual religious group to play its own part in working towards reconciliation through cultural education.
Compiled by Jonathan Wearing