RJCC Resolution on First Nations

The Reform Jewish Community of Canada Social Action Committee has worked with Toronto-area First Nations members to educate the Reform Jewish community about the challenges facing the First Nations community and their root causes. The Bayview Corridor of synagogues (a group of synagogues from across the Jewish spectrum) created a program that brought together government representatives and activists to discuss problems such as housing shortages and lack of access to health care. 

Relations between First Nations and the government have been challenging, but with continued efforts, these relations are developing and gaining momentum. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission established in 2008 is shedding light on the treatment of First Nations members who were forced into the Residential Schools system. In 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo developed an action plan that included a commitment to improve relations between the Canadian government and the First Nations through building accountable governance structures, improving educational opportunities for individuals, enabling self-sufficient communities, improving economic development, and respecting the role of First Nations' culture and language. A popular movement known as "Idle No More" is contributing to momentum for improved government services and conditions for First Nations members. There remains much work to be done. 

The Reform Jewish Community of Canada resolves to: 

  1. Support efforts toward greater self-determination by Canada's First Nations community.

  2. Commend the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada for their efforts to engage productively with the First Nations community such as the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; 

  3. Call on the Government of Canada to: 

  • Abide by existing First Nations treaties and agreements.

  • Create and implement a compulsory, nation-wide educational curriculum exploring the history of the First Nations of Canada, including the government's involvement with the Residential Schools system and other assimilationist efforts that negatively impacted the First Nations community.

  • Support and help implement with full First Nations involvement the necessary physical and mental health, educational and housing systems to address existing shortcomings in these areas.

  • Work with First Nations to mitigate environmental damage to First Nations land.

  • Ensure that no licenses are granted for the development or use of First Nations land without consultation with First Nations or without the creation of appropriate financial agreements and partnership structures.

    4. Encourage our Canadian congregations to continue to establish and strengthen relationships with the First Nations community. 

Learn more about RJCC's resolution in the response to the global refugee crisis. 

Learn about our Brit Olam.