Out of deep respect for Indigenous Peoples who have cared for these lands since time immemorial, we acknowledge that our Congregation is situated in Tkaronto, the traditional territory of many nations including the Anishnabek, the Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat and is now home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
We also acknowledge that Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 signed with the Mississaugas of the Credit, and the Williams Treaties signed with multiple Mississaugas and Chippewa bands.
We affirm our desire for right relations with all Indigenous Peoples built on respect and reciprocity.
As an order of Catholic women religious, our charism to care for the dear neighbour led us from France, through Turtle Island, to here in Toronto, where we are relearning the history of this country and this land.
We will continue to critically examine the ways we have benefitted from systemic racism and the role the Catholic Church has played in systems of oppression in Canada.
We are committed to work to redress these harms and journeying with all.
As a Congregation, being with God, the dear neighbour and all of creation is one movement.
Conscious of this oneness, we are committed to tread lightly on the land and protect the water as sacred.
Our CSJ Toronto Land Acknowledgement, April 7, 2022
Commitments to Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) has established that:
"For over a century, the central goals of Canada’s Aboriginal policy were to eliminate Aboriginal governments; ignore Aboriginal rights; terminate the Treaties; and, through a process of assimilation, cause Aboriginal peoples to cease to exist as distinct legal, social, cultural, religious, and racial entities in Canada. The establishment and operation of residential schools were a central element of this policy, which can best be described as ‘cultural genocide.’" (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015, Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future, p. 1)
This oppressive system of removing Indigenous children from their homes and families dispossessed them of their language, their spirituality, their culture, and their connection to their community and their land. The consequences are intergenerational and include, among others, poverty, chronic illness, and institutional racism.
The Sisters of St Joseph of Toronto have deep respect for Indigenous peoples who have cared for these lands since time immemorial. We acknowledge that we are visitors to this land and affirm our desire for right relations with all Indigenous Peoples built on respect and reciprocity. Our community has a responsibility to be active in the truth, justice, healing, and reconciliation process.
There can be no reconciliation without social, cultural, environmental, and economic justice for Indigenous communities. We recognize the 2015 Calls to Action and 2019 Calls to Justice and how they compel deep change on our part, personally, communally, and as a society. As a community of women religious, we make the following commitments.
- Decolonize our hearts and minds as individuals, communities, and society through educational opportunities including prayer, reflection, retreats, and training.
- Commit to anti-oppressive practices that challenge dominant narratives and uphold the voices of those who are targets for marginalization.
- Amplify the voices of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people.
- Work in solidarity with impacted communities and support their efforts to determine and define their future, including advocating for Indigenous rights, clean water, land rights, Indigenous child welfare compensation, and more.
- Fund projects and organizations that promote Indigenous rights, provide mental health resources, and assist in the reclamation of language and culture.
May our prayers and actions bring us closer to oneness and right relationship with one another, the Creator, and all of creation.