Bahá'ís of Ottawa come from a variety of backgrounds, brought together
by a common belief in the oneness of humanity and the unity of
religion. We work alongside others to become a force of positive
change, applying insights from the Bahá'í teachings to bring about a
more just, peaceful and unified community.
of Canada Honour the Work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Toronto, Ontario, 2
(CBNS) — The National Spiritual Assembly, the Baha’i Community of
Canada’s national governing council, hosted a special dinner, film and
talking circle to honour the work of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation
Commission, on Thursday 28 May just prior to the Closing Events of the
Commission which took place in Ottawa, May 31 to June 3.
“We are here to honour the work of the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission which is seeking justice on behalf of all of us,” said
Deloria Bighorn, Chair of the National Assembly and MC of the evening’s
program. “Seeking justice and truth for a residential school survivor
is also seeking justice and truth for all our children and
“Unity among the Aboriginal peoples, unity with the rest of Canadian
society and unity with all the peoples of the world is vital if justice
and social well-being are to be assured.”
With that in mind, and recognizing that “when those heinous crimes were
committed by those involved in the residential school process, all
Canadians were damaged”, Ms. Bighorn welcomed more than a dozen
residential school survivors and one of the three national
Commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Ms. Marie
Wilson, along with many others, including several guests from
Aboriginal organizations, and members of the Baha’i community.
The dinner was hosted in the beautiful Wabano Aboriginal Health Centre
on Montreal Street in Ottawa, and was attended by three members of the
Baha’i National Spiritual Assembly, including Ms. Karen McKye, of
Toronto and Ms. Bighorn, from Vancouver Island. The evening began with
a drum ceremony by a residential school survivor and member of the
Baha’i community, Ms. Victoria Boucher, along with a Baha’i prayer said
by Ms. Louise Profeit-Leblanc, of the Nach N’yak Dun First Nation of
the Tutchone Nations, and former member of the Baha’i National Assembly.
Following a dinner prepared by the Wabano Centre’s staff, a film
produced especially for the evening’s presentation, “The Path Home –
Reflections on Truth and Reconcilation”, was premiered. Introduced by
the producers, Jordan Bighorn and Esther Maloney, the film presented
reflections of several who had suffered in their childhood from the
tragic results of the residential school program, along with
reflections from some of their children and grandchildren, today active
in Baha’i youth programs. The film “The Path Home – Reflections on
Truth and Reconciliation” can be downloaded here.
One of the special guests was Allison Healy, of the Blackfoot First
Nation and member of the Baha’i Regional Council of Alberta. Ms. Healy
was one of those featured in the film. In her live comments, she spoke
movingly of the importance of spirituality and prayer in the process of
healing and reconciliation.
In September 2013, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of
Canada made a formal submission to the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission at the national event held in Vancouver and held a public
panel on the work of the Commission. See http://www.bahainews.ca/en/node/865.
The Submission itself is available here.
With the encouragement of the National Assembly, Canadian Baha’is
attended Commission hearings and other events at the three national
events in Winnipeg, June 2010, Halifax October 2011, and Montreal,
April 2013, and at regional events in Victoria in April 2012 and
Toronto, May 2012. More sizeable numbers of Baha’is volunteered and
participated in the three other, large national events of the
Commission in Saskatoon, June 2012, Vancouver, September 2013, and
Edmonton, March 2014. The closing events in Ottawa offered more
opportunities for participation, including the Walk for Reconciliation
held on May 31st where thousands of Canadians walked in an effort to
transform the relationship between Aboriginal Peoples and other
The film can be viewed here.
Bahá'í Community honors lives of Seven Bahá'í leaders
Today at several locations
accross the city during the Feast of Grandeur (‘Aẓamat) the Bahá'í
Community of Ottawa celebrated and prayed for the lives of the Seven
Bahá'í leaders imprisoned in Iran for the crime of being a Bahá'í and
the thousands of Bahá'ís in Iran that face persecution every day with
more than a hundred believers currently being unjustly imprisoned.
The Ottawa Community shares its
prayers and support for the Seven
Bahá'í friends imprisoned in Iran.
We join people from all over the
world who are peacefully appealing to
the government of Iran to discontinue these acts of oppression and
abuse of human rights.
Bahá’ís gather to celebrate Ridván Festival, elect Local Spiritual
On Monday April 20, 2015,
Bahá’ís in Ottawa gathered to elect the nine members of the Local
Spiritual Assembly, the governing council that will manage affairs for
the Ottawa Bahá’í community for the coming year. The annual elections
are held on the first day of the 12-day Festival of Ridván
commemorates Bahá’u’lláh’s proclamation, in
1863, of a new divine
As the Bahá’í Faith has no
clergy, the Local Spiritual Assembly guides and administers the affairs
of the community. In this way, governance in Bahá’í communities springs
from the grassroots. All adult Bahá’ís vote by secret ballot without
nominations or campaigning, and all are eligible to serve as Assembly
members. Removing partisanship from the electoral process increases the
likelihood that those elected are not bound by narrow interests, but
rather seek the well-being of the entire human race.
On Tuesday April 21st Ottawa
Bahá'ís gathered to celebrate the beginning of Ridván. Hundreds of
local Bahá'ís and their guests enjoyed a memorable program that
included prayers in English, French, Mandarin, and Arabic, selections
from the Bahá'í sacred writings followed by musical presentations on
the significance of the Festival of Ridván.