They Came for the Children – a Lenten Series

Seeking greater understanding and desiring deeper solidarity with our Indigenous sisters and brothers.

We are so happy to be able to offer a Lenten Series again this year, and we are very grateful to be able to welcome Tammy Webster to guide us on our journey together. Below you will find a layout of the series as well as more information about the video and about Tammy, and the details on how to register.

About They Came for the Children

They Came for the Children is a five part video series on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, including the history of residential schools and the 94 Calls to Action. The documentary was produced by Kevin Moynihan with financial support from the Jesuits, the Sisters of St. Joseph and other groups. Each episode in the series is around 20 min long:

  • Part 1: Introduction: This episode discusses the beginning of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission and how we got to that point.
  • Part 2: History – From Assimilation to “We are All Treaty People”: This episode covers the history of the interactions between settlers, the emerging Canadian government and Indigenous people.
  • Part 3: The Residential Schools: This episode is a comprehensive look at life in the residential schools, told by survivors of the schools.
  • Part 4: The Churches, the Apologies and Indigenous Spirituality: This episode covers the previous apologies of the various churches involved in the residential school system, and discusses the compatibility of Indigenous Spirituality and Christianity.
  • Part 5:  The 94 Calls to Action and Signs of Hope: The final episode focuses on responses to the Calls to Action which are already underway and looks to a future of hope.

Format for our Lenten Series

We recognize that the residential schools and our Church’s involvement in running them is a disturbing and tragic subject, and we hope that the format below will help people to process the vital information we will be learning and enable everyone to participate fully.

  • Pre-watch the episode:
    The Friday prior to each Wednesday’s session we will email a link to the upcoming episode to all those registered. This way you can watch each episode on your own time ahead of the gathering.
  • Watch Together:
    When we gather on Wednesday we will begin by watching together that day’s episode of They Came for the Children.
  • Sharing Circle:
    Following the video Tammy Webster will lead us in a Sharing Circle, to unpack the episode and share our thoughts and feelings with each other. We will be limiting the number of people who attend these sessions so that all will have a chance to share as they feel called to.

Meet our Guide

Tammy is Anishnabe Kwe of the Kitigan Zibi Algonquin First Nation. She is currently employed as Indigenous Equity Consultant in the Waterloo Catholic District School Board and has been there for 19 years. Tammy supports the education system in deepening its understanding in Indigenous ways of knowing and being as well as implementing the Equity and Inclusive Education Action Plan. Tammy has her Principal Qualifications, Master of Arts in Education from York University, Bachelor of Education in Elementary Teaching and Education from University of Western Ontario, Bachelor of Arts in Leisure and Recreation Studies with Business Option from University of Waterloo, and Bachelor of General Science also from University of Waterloo.

She currently sits as Anishnabeg Outreach’s Board Chair, a member of Wellbeing Waterloo Region Connector’s Hub, Sustainability Working Group and First Nations, Metis and Inuit Advisory and Advocacy Circle. She also held interim Co-Convenor for the Region of Waterloo Anti Racism Advisory Working Group and is a contributing writer to the Community Editorial Board for The Record. Tammy has also been the Co-Chair for Waterloo Region Aboriginal Academic Advisory Committee (WRAAAC), is a founder of Honouring First Nations, Metis and Inuit Graduation Ceremony, and sits on Region of Waterloo Children’s Planning Table as well as various working groups. She partners with many organizations to ensure that a First Nations voice is represented and incorporated.  

Tammy somehow finds the time to be on boards and committees where she can present a voice for urban First Nations and ensuring that the voice is present in decisions. She relies on her circle of knowledge keepers and elders for input in areas where they offer more in depth knowledge and understanding. They help her remain grounded in decisions and ensure that the vision for future generations remains positive and healthy and includes an Indigenous lens. Tammy is a firm believer that systemic change will result from positive and professional relationships built acting and engaging as a critical friend, understanding how oppression impacts systems and systems changes and through a partnership that brings people together.

How to Participate

Wednesdays in Lent: March 9, 16, 23, 30 & April 6

We are striving to make this Lenten Series accessible for as many people as possible. To that end each Wednesday in Lent we will offer an afternoon online Zoom gathering from 1:00 – 2:30pm, as well as an evening in-person gathering (COVID restrictions allowing) from 7:00 – 8:30pm.  The same material will be covered in the afternoon as in the evening.

Space is limited at each session so we encourage you to register now for either online or in person.
Email or call 519-745-7301 to register.

We also have permission to post each of the episodes in They Came for the Children on our website, so each Wednesday in Lent beginning on March 9 a new episode will be posted to the front page of our website. If you are unable to join us for the online or in-person gatherings we encourage you to watch the episodes yourself and pray for all Canadians as we continue on this journey of truth and reconciliation.