Land and Peoples

Dayspring’s Vision Concerning our Relationship with the Land and its Peoples

The people of Canada comprise the original peoples and many folk who have come (or whose forebears have come) from the British Isles, Europe, the USA, Central America, Africa, South America, Australasia, and Asia. Many of those who have come as settlers have done so to escape intolerable situations in their homeland.

While rich in resources and, in many areas, most hospitable to human habitation, the country that we call Canada has presented many challenges to its human settlers. The initial settler population was not as sensitive as they might have been to the original peoples’ wise ways of exercising stewardship of the land. In many ways, that pattern of abuse of Canada’s resources has continued. Moreover, many of those original settlers and their institutions caused harm and hurt to the original peoples and that pattern has continued up to the present day.

Dayspring Presbyterian Church laments the pain that has been inflicted on Canada’s original peoples and the pain that has been experienced in their homelands by many of those who have sought refuge here. We deplore the fact that some Canadians are manifesting hostility towards current immigrants and refugees.

We affirm that we are a welcoming community of faith and care – welcoming all who have come to worship and serve in our midst – and a community of faith and care which desires that that same welcoming spirit be experienced in every Canadian community.

Further, we express our hope that this land in which we dwell, God’s creation, will be treated with wise stewardship and tender care so that its resources are available for the wellbeing of all people.

Approved by Session on September 25 and November 27, 2017.

Call to Action No. 46, ii of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls upon the parties of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (which includes The Presbyterian Church in Canada) to a “repudiation [rejection] of concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous lands and peoples, such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius and the reformation of laws, governance structures and policies within their respective institutions that continue to rely on such concepts.” The 2019 General Assembly of the PCC approved a statement repudiating the “Doctrine of Discovery.” The text of that statement can be found here.