On August 6th, Baha’is across Canada participated in a National Day of Prayer and Mindfulness, which was initiated by Dave Courchene, an Elder at Turtle Lodge, Manitoba, on behalf of the National Council of Indigenous Elders. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada called on the Canadian Baha’i community across the country to participate in what it termed a “wonderful initiative” and an “inspiring invitation”.
A statement by Turtle Lodge Elder Dave Courchene shared the vision of this day: “As the Elders and Knowledge Keepers of our First Nations, we have always relied on the Spirit to guide us toward a peaceful, harmonious life, and a close and sacred relationship with the land. As First Peoples of this country, we invite all citizens to come together for a National Day of Prayer and Mindfulness on August 6, to help us find resolve to some of the most pressing issues of our times. We call on all our brothers and sisters in this country, people of all colours, faiths and gender, to begin their moment of prayer, ceremony or mindfulness on August 6 at 9 am local time wherever you are.”
At the local level, devotional gatherings were held across the country on August 6th, reinforcing efforts of individuals and local Baha’i institutions to contribute to the process of reconciliation. At the national level, the Baha’i Community of Canada made a submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, participated in national TRC events, and commissioned a brief film, titled The Path Home, to further advance the conversation about reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada. Baha’is have also been engaged in other efforts by the Elders at Turtle Lodge to promote a conversation about the role of religion and spirituality in reconciliation.