Aboriginal Neighbours is an ecumenical organization initiated by the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia. As its name implies, the organization was formed out of its members’ concerns for the First Peoples and the future of aboriginal children. Present partners in Aboriginal Neighbours include the Anglican Church of Canada, British Columbia diocese; the United Church of Canada, Victoria Presbytery; and Vancouver Island Monthly Meeting of the Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers). Membership is drawn from Vancouver Island and includes Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, many of whom have considerable background working in these areas in British Columbia and elsewhere.
Through our program we undertake to:
- build bridges of respect and understanding between cultures through education and interaction;
- initiate and facilitate outreach with First Peoples in their traditional lands and in cities;
- support the First Peoples of British Columbia and Canada in their efforts to obtain justice through recognition of their aboriginal and treaty rights;
- encourage clergy and laity to develop effective means of keeping church members informed of churches’ continued support and encouragement of aboriginal peoples;
- assist church members to initiate and become involved in local discussion of these issues;
- remind all people of the need for corporate and individual prayer for these initiatives; and keep abreast of political events and situations that affect First Peoples, wherever they may live.
How We Share Our Mission
We do so by:
- Telling stories
- Engaging in a process toward healing and reconciliation
- Providing resource people for congregation and community events
- Facilitating workshops
- Attendance at conferences, cultural events, and treaty-related events such as hearings and open tables
- Liaison with aboriginal peoples
- Sharing available resources: book lists, videos, printed materials, reference
“A Christian’s task is to interpret the Gospel in terms that speak to people’s prevailing sense of need, and to their thirst for meaning and hope. This can never be shown only in words. If we are to exercise a transforming influence in the human situation, Christians must accept participation in the human situation, be ready to press for change, and to enlist support from governments and institutions.
This kind of involvement is costly…the cost of a life committed to Christ and dedicated in service to humankind.”
Howard Heelett Clark