Pathways to Harmony and Reconciliation

The inauguration of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in Canada was a critical moment in the country’s history. It ushered in a new stage of reconciliation between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who both call Canada home. As a result of the stories that were shared through the 6-year process, the TRC made 94 recommendations as their Call to Action to all sectors of the Canadian population. These recommendations have inspired Canadians from all walks of life to explore new pathways to reconciliation and to envision what true harmony would look like for all people in Canada.

On May 30, 2017 the Jaffray Centre participated in an event hosted by iEmergence Philippines and the Al Qalam Institute for Islamic Identities and Dialogue in Southeast Asia in Davao City, Philippines. The conversation was entitled: “Reconciliation in Canada: Pathways to the Restoration of Harmony,” and Jaffray First Peoples convener Ray Aldred was the main speaker. Ray is of the Treaty 8 Cree First Nation in Canada and is the Director of the Indigenous Studies Program at the Vancouver School of Theology. He is also the chairperson of Indigenous Pathways and the North American Institute of Indigenous Theological Studies.

Using the Canadian experience to inform the discussion, the practical steps local communities can take to live out peace and reconciliation and the important role education has for Indigenous communities were discussed. The focus of the conversation was on the context in the Philippines as the local Indigenous and non-indigenous community begins a similar process of dealing with the past and works to develop concrete ways for healing and reconciliation particularly in communities where indigenous peoples remain vulnerable to violence and injustice.

30 participants representing 12 organizations and 5 different people groups joined in the conversation and brought their unique insights to the discussion. They each expressed how the Canadian experience echoes their own experience of abuse and violence. As much as it reminded them of their struggle, it also gave them the hope to persist in working for peace and reconciliation in the Philippines.

Pastor Val, a Timuay (Leader) from the Teduray Tribe commented, “What you shared was an eye-opener for us. It reminds us of the challenge to look into the past to move forward into the future more positively. “

Althea Esmael also commented, “As Bangsamoro, we can relate to what you were saying about repentance as taking responsibility, to heal the relationship with the land and with others.”

We look forward to the continued conversation both here in Mindanao, as well as around the globe, on what peace and reconciliation can look like for all of Creation.