Stratford: Public support for the rights of indigenous peoples

Around one hundred people gathered on Monday, June 20 in Stratford, Ontario for the public reading of the United Nation’s Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as a response to the Primate’s call made on March 19 at the Mohawk Chapel.

The reading which took place at the Upper Queen’s Park in the centre of Stratford was initiated by the local Anglican parish of St. James, but the organizers managed to bring other people in. The circle made on Monday represented a wider Stratford community, and it included First Nations artist Maxine Noel. The event was announced on the front page of the local paper and the mayor of Stratford Dan Mathieson attended the reading on Monday evening.

“We decided that our response should not be just our local parish matter and from the very beginning we wanted it to become the expression of our entire community”, said Lori Colbeck, a member of the Outreach Committee of St. James parish after the reading. She especially thanked the Bridge Builders, a task force on the Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery, whose members came up with a good way to create a document which combined the United Nations Declaration with the Ten Principles guiding the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and which has being offered as a resource to parishes in the Diocese of Huron for this occasion.

Photo: Rev. Tom Patterson (Deacon at St. James, Stratford) at the public reading of UNDRIP on June 20, 2016.