Mary of Magdala Inclusive Catholic Community, Regina, SK -- Activities Promoting Indigenous Justice

Jane Kryzanowski, Special to The Review, July 15, 2021

From the time Mary of Magdala Inclusive Catholic Community was formed, Indigenous justice has been an important part of our mission. Emphasis has been on listening and learning and on building relationships with Indigenous people by tapping into programs being offered in Regina and area through First Nations University, the University of Regina, KAIROS-Regina Chapter, Indigenous/Non-Indigenous Relations Circle of the Archdiocese of Regina, and Regina Multi-Faith Forum.  We also write letters and financially support local agencies. Throughout the Covid-19 period of isolation and limited in-person opportunities, initiatives have moved to an on-line format.  They have not been discontinued.

The following is offered by way of example and is not intended to be an indication of all that we are involved with.  Individual community members are encouraged and supported to participate in a variety of opportunities as they are able. 

Education opportunities have included:
  • Last summer following the death of George Floyd, MMICC community gathered to talk about racism and white supremacy.  Several members met to study Layla Saad’s book, Me and White Supremacy.  Coming to grips with white supremacy is necessary to understand racism and be able to come together in a good way with the Indigenous community.  To continue the study a group studied My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem, which is very interactive with the intent to  get the readers to realize that trauma underlies white supremacy and to practice awareness in the body of our trauma and develop strategies to deal with it.  This study and practice is ongoing.  We have been gathering twice a month and we are integrating some presentations by Indigenous elders into our work.  Several collaborate in leading this ongoing initiative. 
  • Several from the community have participated in the KAIROS Blanket Exercises and other opportunities offered in the city, as well as the on-line Indigenous studies course offered by the University of Alberta.

Relationship building opportunities are:
  • Participation in monthly pot-luck suppers and sharing circles which are led by the Indigenous/Non-Indigenous Relations Circle of the Archdiocese of Regina,
  • Participating in Indigenous pow-wows, feasts and ceremonies,
  • Attending demonstrations and actions for justice such as the vigils for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, for “No More Stolen Children” camp following the acquittal in the Colton Bushie murder case in 2019, and for the fast for mental health supports for Indigenous communities by Tristan Durocher in 2020,
  • Volunteering and supporting volunteers at schools with a high number of Indigenous students.

Support/Advocacy work is ongoing through:
  • Letter writing supporting issues such as clean water and housing in Indigenous communities, adopting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Persons, mental health supports, local homelessness and anti-poverty initiatives,
  • Supporting Orange Shirt Day,
  • Contributing financially to agencies that provide support to Indigenous people.
  • Regularly including issues of Indigenous justice in our prayer.
In response to the recent revelations regarding unmarked graves at Kamloops and Cowessess First Nation, Mary of Magdala Inclusive Catholic Community gathered online on June 29th to hold space for the trauma that is being experienced and to reflect on our personal and community response.  The work of justice for Indigenous People extends beyond the horrors of residential “schools.”  Systems of patriarchy, white supremacy and colonialism are driving forces that still exist.  We can mourn the children, but addressing systemic racism still remains.  After allowing ourselves to settle from the experience, we will come together again to continue our sharing and continue our discernment.


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