CCCB Plenary Meeting Concludes Reconciliation with Aboriginal Peoples: A Pastoral Priority

Monday, October 16 2000

(Cornwall – CCCB) The Catholic Bishops of Canada spent part of the last day of their annual Plenary meeting studying relations with Aboriginal Peoples.

A report, prepared by the Council for Reconciliation, Solidarity and Communion established by the bishops in 1998, indicated that more that $300,000 has been allocated in grants to Aboriginal communities and organizations for projects that promote better relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. The council is made up of seven Aboriginal leaders and two Catholic bishops.

Also among the areas of improving relations was the Memorandum of Understanding signed last November between the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Assembly of First Nations. This memorandum establishes a climate for improved collaboration and increased dialogue between both groups.

The Memorandum states, “We agree that it is our mutual desire to work together, for we have a common responsibility to foster harmony and balance among our respective communities, according to our respective mandates.”

Another area is the recent CCCB support for Aboriginal land claims and treaty rights. Last month Canadian Church leaders invited the population to sign a petition asking the Prime Minister to institute a new mechanism to recognize land claims and treaty rights.

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