Telling the stories of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, NZ and Polynesia

2019 AIN Communique

Here is the full 2019 Anglican Indigenous Network Communique from its meeting in Honolulu, Hawai'i.

Anglican Indigenous Network  |  13 Nov 2019

Anglican Indigenous Network 2019 Communique


The Anglican Indigenous Network (AIN) is an international community of faithful Indigenous Anglicans who have suffered the effects of colonialism and are minorities in their own lands, and who are subject to historical genocide and ongoing forces of occupation. We gather every two years to provide mutual support as we strategically plan our future together. Compelled by the Gospel’s power of love, renewal, peace, reconciliation, and restoration we support one another within our common challenge as minority peoples faced with the unique daily realities of the ongoing impact of colonialism in the Church we love and in the world we are called to steward. We gather for sacred conversations, meaningful worship, cultural exchange, and fellowship. We hope that our recommendations will empower the Anglican Communion to provide effective leadership, mission, ministry and meaningful reconciliation with indigenous peoples within the Communion. We believe that this will be a source of renewal for the whole Communion.


We affirm our right to self-determination within our cultural contexts and church structures. As indigenous peoples we share the common experience of living within the psychological and physical realities of intergenerational trauma resulting from historical genocide and ongoing forces of occupation.  These realities include isolation, marginalization, theft of land and resources, denial of political sovereignty and loss of socio-cultural heritage and identity. As Indigenous Anglican Christians, we experience ourselves to be a minority within a minority. Consequently, our ability to gather together to provide mutual support, share strategies for addressing common issues confronting our communities.


The Apostle Paul, in his writings talks about principalities and powers and how they separate us from God. Separation from God is sin and one of the powers that impacts our lives as Indigenous people is the sin of racism. Articles 2 and 15 of UNDRIP address this evil that confronts our people. We believe that every member must develop culturally appropriate training to dismantle racism that exists in the member’s jurisdiction. Further, we make the pledge in our baptismal covenant that we will: “Seek and serve Christ in all persons loving our neighbors as ourselves and that we will strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being.” Lastly, we recognize that the fourth mark of mission, “to seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation,” is the call to dismantle racism in church and society. Racism is spiritual violence that hurts our humanity as Indigenous people.


Members of the AIN are in great need of leadership, both lay and ordained. We recognize that community and relationships are vitally important in the discernment and formation of leaders for our churches and communities. However, there is a need to develop contextualized training that expresses who we are as Indigenous People and uses teaching techniques that are culturally relevant. Formation should include both Indigenous spirituality and theological training. Due to the many losses that our people have experienced, i.e., loss of land, language, culture, innocence, traditional ceremonies, lifestyle and family to name a few, there is a need for leadership training to include ways to heal and reconcile intergenerational trauma. We call upon members of the communion to work with existing Indigenous leaders to develop leadership training that will be recognized as a path for lay and ordained leadership.


We acknowledge the Kanaka Maoli peoples of the Diocese of Hawaii, where we gathered from September 29 to October 4, 2019. Attending members included representatives from: Canada, Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, Torres Strait Islands, Hawaii and the United States. The assembly heard presentations and reports from each delegation covering a wide range of concerns. A summary of key issues is provided below, followed by a series of actions for follow up by AIN and recommendations to the Anglican Communion for improving partnerships between the Church and its Indigenous members.


Climate Emergencies

Our planet is currently experiencing a Climate Emergency. International policy and the national policies of many individual countries are based on the reports of the IPCC – the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Environmental processes referred to as “positive feedback’ have contributed to more rapid climate decline than all models had initially projected. For example, the accelerating disappearance of the summer arctic ice; the white arctic ice reflects heat away (albedo effect) but the dark waters exposed when it melts would absorb the heat instead – resulting in increased global temperatures. Another positive feedback process is the melting of the permafrost in Northern latitudes. Permafrost contains around twice the amount of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane) currently in the atmosphere, ultimately tripling the level of atmospheric greenhouse gases as it melts. Warmer and rising waters are critically endangering the land, traditional cultural lifeways, and communities of indigenous peoples around the world.


At our 2019 meeting, representatives of the Anglican Indigenous Network reported on the following:


-       The reality of rising sea levels is flooding the land and gardening sustainability of the Torres Strait Islanders

-       The delegation from Australia shared with us the continuing devastation of low lying islands which are facing inundation due to rising sea levels associated with climate change and the continual pollution of sacred waters and damage to fishing stocks caused by international shipping pollution

-       Rising temperatures and rapidly melting glaciers in the High Arctic (e.g. melting permafrost in Kotzebue, Alaska and flooding the land in Kivalina, Alaska) and rising temperatures are impacting the physical and cultural landscape of the Inuit peoples, threatening their livelihood

-       Indigenous  lives and cultures are closely connected to sacred lands and waters;  climate change is currently destroying Indigenous cultures and our ability to transmit cultural lifeways


Historical and Intergenerational Trauma

Intergenerational Trauma (also often referred to as Historical & Transgenerational Trauma) is a theory which states that trauma can be transferred from the first generation of trauma survivors to the second and further generations of offspring of the survivors via complex post-traumatic stress disorder mechanisms. Since the 15th Century, Western colonialism has inflicted trauma on indigenous communities in Africa, Asia, Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, and the Americas. Neocolonial forces of economic globalization disproportionately impact the traditional territories of indigenous peoples. As indigenous peoples attempt to protect the lands they have inhabited for centuries, their civil resistance is being increasingly criminalized by dominant cultures.  Historic impacts include but are not limited to: dislocation of indigenous peoples from their traditional lands and water ways, restriction and criminalization of indigenous cultural practices, loss of indigenous languages and traditional knowledge, lack of access to adequate healthcare and educational opportunities, the consequent inability to practice and transmit cultural lifeways and indigenous identity, and the general disallowance of indigenous sovereignty. Indigenous communities around the world continue to struggle with the effects of Colonialism inherited from the past and also experience the effect of Neocolonialism presently occurring.


At our 2019 meeting, representatives of the Anglican Indigenous Network reported on the following:


-       The ongoing impacts of the residential schools, Indian Federal Day Schools, stolen generations, state care, and foster homes

-       Each of the delegates told a story of the impact of trauma in their contexts

-       The effects of this trauma are seen through high rates of addiction, imprisonment, violence, suicide, neglect, and abuse/sexual abuse which are disproportionately high across our peoples

-       The for-profit prison industrial complex impacts Kanaka Maoli people of Hawaii by relocating prisoners to Saguaro, Arizona, thereby severing them from their families and lands, effectively removing their cultural identity as indigenous people


Indigenous Rights and Interests, including Sacred Lands and Waters

As a working definition, Indigenous rights are those rights that exist in recognition of the specific condition of the indigenous peoples. This includes the most basic human rights of physical survival and integrity. However, due to the sociocultural intimacy with which indigenous peoples live within a given environment, indigenous rights must include the preservation of traditional lands, environmental resources, languages, belief systems, and other elements of cultural heritage that are an integral part of indigenous identity. Under the oppressive effects of Neocolonialism and economic globalization, indigenous communities are the collective “canary in the coalmine,” sounding a critical alert to the global community that indigenous communities, as well as critical species and biomes, are dying. If this reality continues unchecked, all peoples of the world will meet the same fate as certainly as our indigenous communities.


At our 2019 meeting, representatives of the Anglican Indigenous Network reported on the following:


-       We promote continuing the Bears Ears Protected Status in Utah and will support the coalition fighting to protect Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments through the advocacy efforts and legislation of The Episcopal Church

-       We support The Episcopal Church in its advocacy efforts to continue the protected status of The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, in support of the Gwich’in people, who are committed to protecting the Refuge from drilling under the current US administration

-       Our Hawaiian hosts shared with us their struggle to protect Mauna Kea, the deep divides occurring in their community over the struggle, and their encouragement from the presence of the Episcopal church and the teaching of their Bishop

-       The Aotearoa delegation share their concern with the mana whenua of Ihumatao in Auckland, New Zealand, of the importance of the protection and conservation of the whenua (land) at Ihumatao which is a historic reserve.

-       We heard with joy that the Anangu people of Central Australia have finally been respected after decades of lobbying through the banning of climbing on their sacred Dreaming place Uluru.


Sovereignty and Treaty Rights

The existence of indigenous cultures and indigenous nations and the ability of indigenous communities to meet the needs of their people, effectively address social issues, and increase communal well-being are all dependent on the recognition of indigenous sovereignty. Self-determination includes the right to make decisions about issues that affect indigenous communities. Cross-cultural relationships between non-indigenous and indigenous peoples are mutually life-giving when indigenous sovereignty is recognized and respected. Treaties indigenous peoples are legally based in the core principle of indigenous sovereignty. Whenever treaties are compromised, both the law and the people are jeopardized. When indigenous rights are violated, societal peace breaks down, as mistrust and suspicion erode the potential for trust and understanding. The recognition of indigenous sovereignty is a key factor in building and maintaining successful indigenous/non-indigenous relationships around the world. Wherever and whenever indigenous sovereignty is not respected, the indigenous community suffers under the effects of a dominant culture that violates the law and oppresses indigenous people through systemic racism.


At our 2019 meeting, representatives of the Anglican Indigenous Network reported on the following:


-       Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegates shared their heart ache at the continued refusal of the Australian Government to genuinely engage with the community on recognition of sovereignty, treaty and giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples a voice in parliament

-       At their 2018 General Convention, the Episcopal Church passed D011, a resolution for Doctrine of Discovery Training for everyone in the ordination process; at the same Convention, they passed resolution D010, establishing the position of Indigenous Theological Education Coordinator staffed from the Office of the Indigenous Missioner

-       The delegation from Kanata (Canada), The northern part of Turtle Island, reported that Canon 22, The National Indigenous Ministry, was amended at the 2019 Anglican Church of Canada General Synod. The National Indigenous Anglican Bishop is now recognized as an Archbishop for the emerging self-determined Indigenous Church in Kanata. Strategies are being developed to fully become a self – determined Indigenous Church within the Anglican Church of Canada.

-       A common theme heard across all delegations was a failure to acknowledge sovereignty and respect treaty rights of Indigenous peoples both inside and outside the church


Indigenous Theological Education

Theological education for indigenous leadership in the Church is predominantly measured by the English (historically British) yardstick; a Western seminary education is granted a preferred status and all other education models are frequently considered “less than.” Indigenous peoples in the Church are committed to maintaining educational standards for leadership formation. However, the reality of the majority of indigenous peoples in the Church is such that the expectation of obtaining a “traditional” seminary education is impossible or even impractical.  As the mainstream Church at large struggles to adapt to a changing societal environment and shifting economic realities, indigenous faith communities have historically always had to do more with less as well as to engage creative problem solving on a daily basis in order to meet communal needs and leadership training goals. Within the indigenous church communities of each of AIN’s participating countries, current indigenous leadership is engaged in creating culturally appropriate models of theological education that are experienced based, committed to quality education, and supportive of indigenous leadership formation.


At our 2019 meeting, representatives of the Anglican Indigenous Network reported on the following:


-       The United States delegation presented a management model for consideration to AIN, in order to facilitate integration of Indigenous spirituality and theology into lay and professional ministry formation

-       The United States reported its renewing community based formation through reviving the Native Youth Event at Standing Rock and reviving the Mountains and Deserts regional community education program


AIN agrees to take the following actions:

-       Continue to broaden network membership, opening up the AIN to Indigenous peoples who are minorities in their own lands, within the Communion

-       Send representatives to participate in the Lambeth Conference 2020, supporting the development of a seminar on Indigenous Peoples, and staffing a booth at the Lambeth Resource Center

-       To explore the possibility of establishing an Indigenous Research Centre at St. John’s Theological College in Auckland, New Zealand

-       To consider establishing an office of a general secretary of the AIN at St. John’s Theological College in Auckland, New Zealand, and prepare an accompanying budget proposal for presentation to the member provinces

-       To consider the possibility of establishing an Indigenous theological journal to be run out of the office of the general secretary at St. John’s Theological College in Auckland, New Zealand

-       Continue to expand our communication network within and between Provinces

-       Continue efforts to raise up young adults (18-25) to participate in the AIN

-       Continue the relationship with the Anglican Communion Office by inviting an observer to our meeting in Torres Strait Island, 2021

-       The AIN endorses the calls for recognition and action shared by our delegations


The AIN Calls Upon the Member Churches of the Anglican Communion and Instruments of Communion to Support Our Indigenous Communities Through the Following Actions:

-       Adopt and monitor implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

-       Fund the development of Indigenous theological education programs

-       Request that the Standing Committee of the ACC assist the AIN representatives to identify appropriate and effective ways for Indigenous voices and perspectives to be represented in the work of the ACC and Anglican Communion partner organizations

-       Support adequate care and training for Indigenous clergy and laity dealing with compassion fatigue and the effects of vicarious trauma

-       Provide a report on Indigenous Ministries within each province to the AIN observer

-       Take genuine steps to address the climate emergency being faced right now by low lying island and coastal communities, not just in Australia, but throughout the world

-       Stand with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Anglican Council (NATSIAC) by endorsing The Statement from the Heart delivered at Uluru in 2017, and writing to and encouraging the Australian government and church to do likewise

-       Provide opportunity for the AIN to report to provincial governing bodies

-       Send ACO observer to the next AIN meeting in Torres Strait Island, 2021


We conclude our report with deep gratitude for the attendance of the ACO Observer Mr. Jack Palmer-White, for the partnership of The Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii in the Bishop’s teaching on Mauna Kea; for the life and work of the recently departed Rev. Canon Dr. Malcolm Naea Chun; for the consecration of Archbishop Mark MacDonald of Canada; for the recent consecration and enthronement of Bishop Waitohiariki Quayle, the first female Indigenous Bishop in Aotearoa, New Zealand, Polynesia; and for the upcoming 150th anniversary of the Coming of the Light to the Torres Strait Islands in 2021.


Signature Page

On behalf of the indigenous peoples of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia –

The Rt. Rev Te Kitohi Pikaahu (Chair)

Lynnore Pikaahu

The Rt. Rev Richard Wallace

The Venerable Michael Tamihere

The Rev Canon Chris Huriwai

The Venerable Ngira Simmonds

The Rev Canon Robert Kereopa

The Venerable Mabel Grennell

Renata-Kylie Brown

Te Aomihia Brown

The Rev Dr. Paul Reynolds (Secretary)


On behalf of the indigenous peoples of the Anglican Church of Canada –

The Most Rev Mark MacDonald

The Rt. Rev Adam Halkett

The Rev Canon Norman Wesley

Verna Firth

Jasmine Firth

The Rev Canon Virginia Doctor


On behalf of the indigenous peoples of The Episcopal Church –

The Rev Dr. Bradley Hauff

The Rev Rachel Taber-Hamilton

The Rev Dr. Mary Crist


On behalf of the indigenous peoples of The Episcopal Church (Diocese of Hawaii) -

Kalani Holokai

Edward Bruce Hanohano

The Rev Jazzy Bostock

The Rev Paul Nahoa Lucas

May Holokai

The Rev Ha’aheo Guanson

The Venerable Steven Costa


On behalf of the indigenous peoples of the Anglican Church of Australia –

The Rt. Rev Chris McLeod

The Rev Daryl McCullough

Dr. Rose Elu