The Reverend Stanley John McKay to receive honorary degree of Doctor of Sacred Letters

From the Victoria University website:

The Executive Committee of Senate is pleased to announce the 2018 Victoria University Honorary Degree recipients. At the May 10th, 2018 Emmanuel Convocation, Victoria University will confer honorary degrees upon Dr. Cassim Degani, and The Very Reverend Stanley John McKay. Professor Emeritus Linda Hutcheon will receive an honorary degree on October 10th, at the Charter Day Convocation.

The Very Reverend Stanley John McKay is the first Aboriginal person to lead the United Church of Canada, serving as moderator from 1992 to 1994, where he played a key role in working towards reconciliation. Reverend McKay coordinated the developments of the United Church’s national consultation process for the National Native Council, 1982-1987. During that time, he successfully advocated for the Church’s apology for its role in the cultural oppression of First Nations peoples. Reverend McKay is the recipient of numerous awards and honours, including a National Aboriginal Achievement Award. Victoria University will confer the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Sacred Letters, honoris causa, upon The Very Reverend Stanley John McKay.

Congratulations Stan!

March 2018 Newsletter

In this issue read about the Indigenous Calls to the Church, upcoming events at SSSC, the story behind the Dakota hymn “Many and Great”, Indigenous worship at the General Council Youth Forum and more.

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Reconciliation Hymn

by John D. Snow Jr.

In November, 2017,I received an outreach email from the Choir at Knox United in Calgary.  They wanted the correct pronunciation of the Dakota words “Many and Great” from Voices United Hymn Book.  I embarked on a journey of Song.  Being a Nakoda from Morley I was not able to readily translate and pronounce Dakota words and sought help from my Friend, Isaiah Brokenleg, an Episcopal Student Minister from South Dakota.  I was able to connect with Isaiah and, along with my brother and sister, all of us in training for ministry, we in turn taught the correct words to the Choir at Knox United Calgary for their Advent Communion.

Brief History of Many and Great a Dakota Hymn in Voices United

This song comes from the Dakota warriors who were hung because of a war that was started as the people were starving; the hanging is also commemorated as the Dakota 38.  We shared insight and the words as well as the singing of the Dakota Hymn to the Knox Choir, who learned quickly.

This was a reconciled song by the warriors. As they went to their execution they shook hands and forgave all the military on site and sang this song before they were hung.  It is a solemn and emotional remembrance for Indigenous people.

While I could not attend Knox United for the Advent Communion, as I was serving at Maskwacis for my own communion and service, I did receive the MP3 of the communion at Knox United, Calgary.  I am happy for the outreach and the teachings shared on this reconciliation Hymn.


A song for our Path Forward in the United Church of Canada

Our path is now revealed through Song and the Oral Tradition.  Like the Hebrews of old our Indigenous people have a Creator who speaks to them in their Sacred Sites and homelands. Our Indigenous people have their own languages and ceremonies that are gifts from the Creator.

As we move forward respecting one another we must do so together as a renewed United Church of Canada meaningfully implementing UNDRIP, TRC and The Treaties.

I received a thank you note and an MP3 from Knox United for the singing of Many and Great.  I sent a copy to Isaiah, who is now an ordained Episcopal Priest in South Dakota.  The singing was a revelation and healing.

John D. Snow Jr is a student at SSSC while pursuing his M. Div. at the Vancouver School of Theology. He is a Student Minister at Samsom United, Maskwacis Alberta.

A condensed version of this story appeared in our newsletter, Volume 6, Issue 1, March 2018. 

Caretakers of Our Indigenous Circle Calls to the Church

“The Caretakers of our Indigenous Circle”, made up of representatives of Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre, All Native Circle Conference, BC Native Ministries and Native Ministries of Ontario and Quebec have issued nine “Calls to the Church” that will be presented at General Council 43 (GC43) in Oshawa, ON in July 2018 . The Caretakers sought the input of Indigenous communities of faith in their various collectives and the Calls were affirmed by the National Aboriginal Spiritual Gathering in Pinawa, MB in July of 2017. General Council Executive has approved these Calls and recommends they be adopted at GC43.

Download this important document and read the Calls to the Church here. 

Watch for our upcoming newsletter to learn more about the Calls to the Church.



1JustCity hiring Indigenous Cultural Programmer

1JustCity is hiring for an exciting new position, the Indigenous Cultural Programmer, who will work to offer programming that provides opportunities for healing and support to Indigenous people at 4 inner-city outreach sites in Winnipeg. Please see the job description below for more information.

The deadline for application is March 2, 2018.


Employee Position

We are seeking a compassionate individual, steeped in their own Indigenous cultural tradition, to offer cultural programming to Indigenous community members at all four of our inner-city outreach sites.

Position Title: Indigenous Cultural Programmer
Position Type: Permanent, 3⁄4 time position (30 hours per week)

Salary: $46,000; pro-rated to $34,500 for 3⁄4 time.
Position Start Date: April 2, 2018
Closing date for applications: March 2, 2018

About Us: 1JustCity is an organization that supports four outreach sites in Winnipeg’s core neighborhoods: West Broadway, the North End, the West End and Osborne Village.

Our services fulfill basic needs such as daily meals, food distribution, haircuts, showers, laundry, toiletries, and clean undergarments. But we also work to fulfill much deeper needs by providing safe communities of love and respect. We work to build a city where people who are alone can have a place to belong and be accepted, where people who are hurting can find support and healing, and where people who are struggling can be given the tools to build a better life.

Each of our four outreach sites serve those living with addictions, those without a place to call home, or those shunned by others based on race, income and sexual orientation. The need for our presence continues to grow, especially in these times of economic stress.

Our communities include many Indigenous people, many of whom experience brokenness and separation from their culture. We have identified a need to hire an Indigenous staff person who can offer a consistent presence at each of our four outreach sites; providing opportunities for healing for Indigenous people who are hurting.

The Position: The Indigenous Cultural Programmer will offer a caring presence at each of our four outreach sites. They will design and facilitate programs to promote healing for Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members; potentially including (but not limited to) sharing circles and trips offsite to participate in Indigenous ceremonial events such as pow-wows and sweat lodges. This person will also be tasked to build compassionate relationships with Indigenous community members; offering support and connecting individuals with other resources as necessary.

Organizational Relationship: Paid by Oak Table Inc. Accountable to 1JustCity Inc.


  • Build relationships with Indigenous community members and offer a consistent compassionate presence.
  • Design and facilitate Indigenous cultural programming that will promote healing for Indigenous community members.
  • Promote the programs and recruit participants.
  • Connect Indigenous community members with other programs and resources forhealing.
  • Search for opportunities to build relationships with other organizations that are working for Indigenous healing.
  • Consult on an ongoing basis with other 1JustCity site staff and Fund Developer asneeded to ensure strong program design and delivery.
  • Oversee the implementation of all Indigenous program activities, including directinvolvement in leadership.
  • Manage the programs within budget.
  • Evaluate the program, reflect on performance and learning and report on a continualbasis.
  • Participate in 1JustCity board meetings and staff training events.
  • Provide opportunities for healing in cooperation with the churches and otherorganizations that partner with us, as possible.

Qualifications and Abilities Sought:

  • Grounding in Indigenous cultural tradition.
  • Experience conducting sharing circles.
  • Strong knowledge of Indigenous healing resources.
  • Understanding of the history and present reality of colonialism in Canada, with anunderstanding of the effects of the trauma that many Indigenous people have experienced because of this.
  • Understanding of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, including the 94 Calls toAction; and the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People.
  • Connection with the Indigenous community in Winnipeg.
  • Willingness to work in close partnership with Christians, as part of a historically Christianorganization. (Though not required to be a member of any Christian tradition.)
  • Willingness to collaborate with people from a diversity of different traditions and faiths.
  • Ability to communicate clearly in both written and oral form.
  • Ability to take initiative.
  • Comfort working with people who have mental health issues.
  • Ability to connect with people of all ages.
  • Excellent planning and coordination skills.
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to set priorities.
  • Ability to work as part of a team, with volunteers and staff, and provide direction. 

    Please send applications to:

    Josh Ward at
    Please put Indigenous Cultural Programmer in the Subject line.

    Visit or contact Josh Ward for more information.

December 2017 Newsletter

In this issue we have good news about growing student interest, introductions to our new Keepers of the Vision, stories and photos from our festival and feast for friends, an update on our Indigenous Family Reunification Centre plans, a poem from a young person who was moved by her visit here, a hopeful message that our students heard when they helped host a visit from the United Church Moderator, upcoming events and a donation form for making your year-end tax deductible donation. Have a read!

Unsaved Grab Document

Sandy-Saulteaux Takes Part in Giving Tuesday 2017

#lightourfire (1)



GivingTuesday is a global day of giving. After the sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, GivingTuesday, on November 28, is a time to celebrate and encourage activities that support charities and non-profits. Whether it’s making a donation, volunteering time, helping a neighbour or spreading the word, GivingTuesday is a movement for everyone who wants to give something back. For the second year in a row, the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre invites you to join us in taking part.

Last year’s Giving Tuesday supporters helped us insulate our fireplace chase and seal out the cold winter winds from our hall where we host learning circles, retreats, blanket exercises, sharing circles and more.

Now to install a new fireplace we’re looking for 300 friends to chip in $20 each and help us raise $6000 so we can install a new fireplace.

Click here to donate now and help #lightourfire.

Follow our progress on Facebook on Giving Tuesday and get inspired by the “fiery” quotes we’ve been sharing all week to tell our Centre’s story.

If you’ve been a regular donor to the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre – Meegwetch! Your contributions help us care for this sacred place and offer ministry training for Indigenous students and cross-cultural education for the broader community. You could make an extra contribution to this special project or share this message with a friend who’s been to Sandy-Saulteaux and might want to become a donor themselves.

Fall 2017 Newsletter

In this issue we hear about a vision for Indigenous family reunification from Keeper of the Circle Adrian Jacobs, reflections on their experiences in the Holy Land from students Murray Pruden and John Snow, a report on the All Native Circle Conference Grand Council from Rev. John R. Thomson and a report on the National Aboriginal Spiritual Gathering by Ray Jones. Have a read!
















PS: Want to read more about John Snow’s visit to Israel and Palestine?  You’ll find a longer reflection and more photos here.

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Reflection on the Come and See Tour – Palestine and Israel – May 31 – June 10, 2017

by John D. Snow Jr., M.Div. Student, Student Minister, Samson United, Maskwacis Alberta

As a United Church Indigenous clergy student, I felt uneasy traveling to Palestine and Israel because of turmoil in the Middle East. It takes courage to make an emotionally challenging Pilgrimage. In Palestinian refugee camps in Bethlehem, we witnessed Israeli soldiers harass Palestinian school children, reminding me of the Residential School Experience.

When our Palestinian hosts asked our United Church group how we are addressing our own “Indigenous refugees” in Canada, I felt a validation of my struggle. As an Indigenous person growing up on a reserve in Alberta, I related to the tension and fear inside the Palestinian camp. Issues of limiting land access and curtailing human rights of Palestinians parallels the Indigenous Peoples’ experience in Canada.

In the midst of all the chaos, a dove appeared in the form of prayers. Our tour continued in Jerusalem. Following my visit to the Garden of Gethsemane, my brother and sister back home at seminary emailed me that above the Mount of Olives is a church called Pater Noster (Our Father), where there are ceramic plaques with The Lord’s Prayer in 150 languages.

This compelled me to return the next day with my tour leader and cross through all the checkpoints again. Pater Noster was closed for lunch and we waited impatiently. Palestinian protesters arrived and marched through the streets, chanting. When the Church opened, we rushed in to search for the Indigenous prayers. Within minutes I located the Cree prayer and then the Nakota Sioux prayer, which is related to my Nakoda dialect. I felt humbled and in awe to see the Prayers of our People in Jerusalem, and validated because we know the Creator.

First Nations have holy and sacred sites in Canada and our sites are of comparable importance to those in Jerusalem. Indigenous traditional and cultural teachings, theological interpretations, fasting, prayer, vision quest and ceremonies may illuminate Christian understanding and experience.

I had a reflection from the Indigenous prayers at Pater Noster. “I have many sheep that are not of this fold, but one day I will bring them, and there will be one flock and one Shepherd” [John 10:16].

My father was one of the first indigenous clergy ordained by the United Church. This Pilgrimage has given me strength and motivates our family’s work within Indigenous Communities of Faith.

The Lord's Prayer in Nakota at Pater Noster.

The Lord’s Prayer in Nakota at Pater Noster.

The Lord's Prayer in Cree at Pater Noster.

The Lord’s Prayer in Cree at Pater Noster.