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Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics

Volume 22, Fall 2002

Marilyn J. Legge
Pages 27-47

Seeking "Right Relations"
How Should Churches Respond to Aboriginal Voices?

What moral and spiritual resources do churches have to open space for transforming and making new relations with and among Aboriginal communities? What values best express justice and are cross-culturally appropriate? Who decides on the terms and how? When are moral agency and responsibility aptly configured within unevenly structured relations of power? With special attention to the United Church of Canada and to voices of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women, I explore elements of an ethical framework in dialogue with the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. The Commission suggests three roles that religious institutions can play: to foster awareness and understanding; to participate in public discussion; and to advocate at the local level in situations of conflict. On what grounds can each role be adequate in practice and what are some ingredients for ethical guidelines? I suggest what moral agenda and basis might confirm the claims of ecclesial potential.

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