Reflecting on the events surrounding Colten Boushie’s death and Gerald Stanley’s trial, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Saskatchewan weeps with those who weep.
This tragic situation reveals anew the brokenness and tension in our communities in Saskatchewan and across the country. These recent painful days follow a long history of violence, suffering and division in this land. Though we live side-by-side, we do not always live as neighbours. Many of us live in fear and mistrust of one another.
Since the verdict, we have heard voices crying out in pain, crying out in fear, crying out for justice, crying out for safety… and with heavy hearts we lament.
We lament the violence and loss of life. We lament the pain and fear in peoples’ hearts. We lament the trauma and re-traumatization this situation inflicts. We lament the realities of isolation and vulnerability. We lament a criminal justice system that does not serve our communities well. We lament the polarization and separation among people who dwell in the same land.
We believe that God is present in suffering. We believe that lamentation deepens understanding and promotes healing. We sit in the ashes, we weep and lament. But we will not stay there. There are reasons to hope and ways to move forward. Good work and relationship-building is happening in our communities. Indigenous and settler peoples are walking together, talking together and working together.
MCC desires that all communities be in right relationship with God, one another and creation. As ministers of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18), we work to promote peace, unity, restoration and healing in our land. As people of mainly settler origin and with a long history in rural Saskatchewan communities, we have worked for decades to build relationships with Indigenous peoples. Since 2012, we have been responding to the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and participating with reconciliation committees. We are grateful for the teachings and relationships that carry us forward in our work. We will continue to listen and work to understand. We will not fear the truth or difficult conversations. We will continue to clasp hands with Indigenous peoples as treaty partners. We will work together to seek a justice that restores relationships.
We all share this land. We all long for safety. We all want our children and grandchildren to flourish.
Let us meet with one another and find friends among each other. Let us come out of our comfort zones. Let us hear and learn from each other. Let us create courageous spaces to ask questions. Let us learn how to acknowledge difficult truths and find ways of talking about them. Let us involve as many voices as possible in conversations toward strong treaty relationships. Let us build on the good work that is being done to create a better, fairer and safer future for all.