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Most Canadians identify as Christian: Indigenous spirituality and culture compatible with Christianity


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Personal)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/12/02

More than 2/3rds of Canadians self-identified as Indigenous also identify as Christian.

One of the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into residential schools included the church’s reconciliation with Canada’s First Nations people. The church recently offered a commitment to reconciliation, one day shy of the March 31 deadline.

The National Indigenous Bishop for the Anglican Church of Canada, Mark MacDonald, delivered his church’s so-called “commitment to reconcile” with Canada’s First Nations people, March 30, 2016, confirming that the church will never partner with cultural genocide, affirming the UN declaration on rights of indigenous people. MacDonald highlighted the new relationship moving forward stating “the churches have said that they will be partners to us in life in a way that before they were partners with what brought so much pain and misery.”

The church’s commitment is an important one for many First Nations people. Not just because of the role Canadian churches played in the residential school system but because today, two-thirds of aboriginal Canadians identify as Christians.

We don’t have a church building. Our faith is built into our culture and our belief that God is with us is built into our traditions.- Jillian Harris, Indigenous Christian studying to become a priest

The Current wanted to explore the future of this relationship and where churches need to go from here to deliver on their promise to reconcile.

  • Mark MacDonald, Canada’s first National Indigenous Anglican Bishop.
  • Cecile Smith, residential school survivor from the Fishing Lake First Nation.
  • Jillian Harris, residential school survivor, and currently a master’s student at the Vancouver School of Theology Native Ministries Program.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

One Comment
  1. Joshua Paul permalink

    The introduction of Christianity to Indigenous spirituality and culture in Canada has had a significant impact on many aspects of daily life. As such, it isn’t surprising that many Canadians identify as Christian. One way to help further this integration is to consider boarding schools in Uttarakhand, which are designed to help students learn about Indigenous spiritualities in a safe and respectful environment. Doing so could help bridge the gap between both facets of faith.


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