News Story

Indigenous Latter-day Saints Participate in a Gathering of Tribes in Calgary, Alberta

About 200 Indigenous members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered in Calgary, Alberta, September 9–10, 2022. Canadian representatives of the Cree, Stoney Nakoda, Tsuut’ina, the Blackfoot Confederacy and the Métis Nation; American representatives of the Navajo and Apache tribes; and Polynesian peoples came together for the first event of its kind in Western Canada: a Gathering of Tribes.

When asked about the purpose of the event, one of the four organizers, Cindy Quinney ("Mihko asinîy iskwew"/"Red Stone Woman"), from Onion Lake Cree Nation, said, “To unite and for all of us to share our stories together will help strengthen us as a people. There are many who need to know their identity and who they are, … how important they are to the Creator, and as an individual, to know the strength and spiritual power that they have within themselves” (see “Tribe of Testimonies” interview).

Families and individuals travelled from across Alberta as well as from British Columbia, Arizona, Polynesia and New Zealand to join together, share common experiences and strengthen each other. “I had longed for this gathering to happen, to see my family, my relatives and friends come and see the holy temple,” said Lana Labelle (Iya Toh Weiya) from Mini Thni, Morley, Alberta. “I can have both my culture and the gospel.”

The group engaged in workshops and listened to talks on a variety of topics, from mindfulness and wellness to the importance of family. Messages from the Book of Mormon were an important theme throughout. The conference ended with a feast and a chance for attendees to share their testimonies of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

“It was really nice to socialize with family and friends I had not seen for a while,” said Jerry Jr. First Charger, a participant and speaker from the Blackfoot Confederacy. “It was really nice to see everyone there with the same purpose of wanting to help the gathering of Israel to move forward amongst our own people.”

Karen Shirley, a Red River Métis woman, said, “Those in attendance generally agreed they felt connectedness, unity and satisfaction in gathering together.”

The event was supported by Church leaders and made possible by the service of many Church members. Volunteers set up chairs, tended to children, provided first aid and prepared and served food.

Elder David C. Stewart, the Area Seventy for the North America Central Area, said, “This event was planned by and for Indigenous members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their goal was to help develop unity among this community and to help unify all to Jesus Christ. They used revelation as they attempted to accomplish this goal. Much good came from this. This built on previous activities and efforts and will help to continue to move the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the Earth.”

Contributed by Annette Reil, Calgary Alberta Stake

Read the story in French

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.