Book Review: Wrongs to Rights

By Amie Nault

From the Catalyst, Summer 2017

Wrongs to Rights: How Churches Can Engage the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Edited by Steve Heinrichs
Mennonite Church Canada, 2016

Reviewed by Amie Nault

There has been a lot of discussion lately about how to best respond to the calls to action presented in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report. For many of us, we are left with the desire to do something, but remain unaware of what that something is.

Wrongs to Rights presents a positive step in the right direction. This collection of essays from a diverse array of authors tries to address not only the question of how to respond to the calls to action, but also how to engage with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, one of the fundamental documents upon which the calls to action are built.

The diversity of the authors presents not only a plethora of perspectives, but a multitude of places to start the discussion. I highly recommend the first section especially for anyone that wishes to gain a more diverse knowledge of the declaration – not only what is in the document, but the hopes and aspirations that are enshrined in its very creation.

This book represents a good first step – but it is not the only, nor the final, step in the ongoing goal of reconciliation. I encourage everyone to take the time to read further, not only from the further reading list provided, but also from some of the people who have written essays for this collection. It will only lead to a deeper understanding of Indigenous rights, the role of the Church in reconciliation, and the views of Indigenous peoples across Canada going forward.

Reconciliation is an ongoing process, and we need to be engaged in the discussion at every step. Wrongs to Rights is a good place to start.

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