Novalis is very pleased to announce a new series on the churches and Indigenous Peoples in Canada! Sponsored by the Centre on the Churches, Truth, and Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples (CCTR) of the Faculty of Theology at Saint Paul University in Ottawa, New Paths for the Churches and Indigenous Peoples will publish academic theological research that contributes to the work of reconciliation and healing with Indigenous Peoples in Canada and beyond. The volumes in this series will promote theological research and investigation in service of truth, reconciliation and healing. The series also aims at making theological resources available and accessible to the public, especially to those forging new paths in their congregations and communities for reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
Michel Andraos, dean of the Faculty of Theology at Saint Paul University, is general editor of the series. The editorial board consists of academics from several universities in the Americas, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, who have a long history of working in this field.
The first book in the series is Come Dance with Me: A Medicine Wheel Practice of Anishinaabe Catholic Interculturation of Faith, by Sr. Eva Solomon, CSJ, ssm, DMin. Sr. Eva, a Sister of St. Joseph (Sault Ste. Marie) who lives in Winnipeg, is a Sacred Pipe Carrier and has worked for several decades with the Canadian bishops on Indigenous ministry and on the development of a truly Indigenous Catholic church.
Her very readable book explores interculturation of Anishinaabe Roman Catholic faith through a mutually respectful and culturally appropriate dialogue process. It is an invitation to dance across the circular plane of the medicine wheel, a framework for Anishinaabe Catholic interculturation of faith. This rhythm of the dance is a means of healing, integrity, transformation, and reconciliation. The invitation, “Come dance with me,” reflects the invitation of the Cosmic Christ to all creation. In the words of Michel Andraos, “In her work, Sister Eva engages and challenges the work of many prominent and leading Catholic theologians and Church leaders on the theories and praxis of inculturation of the Christian faith among Indigenous Peoples. This inculturation is established in the deep vision and spiritual praxis of the medicine wheel. This book presents to us, Indigenous and non-Indigenous Christians alike, a new vision for an intercultural Church … Sister Eva’s message is gentle, prophetic, powerful, inclusive, and embedded in practical wisdom. ”
Many Indigenous Peoples who were introduced to the faith by European colonizers reinterpreted Christianity through their own worldview and traditional practices. Sister Eva, a respected Elder, describes their historical, cultural, spiritual and religious experiences in the Church.
Come Dance with Me was launched in October at Saint Paul University – the hope-filled celebration included a panel of speakers who described how this ground-breaking work touched them and how it can serve as a call and a vision for the Church in Canada more broadly. Sr. Eva was presented with an eagle feather and a stunning star blanket; she wore the moccasins that are featured on the cover of the book, and all gathered joined in a dance to honour her.
Anne Louise Mahoney is Managing Editor of Novalis. She is the editor of Looking to the Laity: Reflections on Where the Church Can Go from Here and the author of I Hope, a book for young children.