Collection ORG - MCC Menno Wiebe Native Concerns Collection

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MCC Menno Wiebe Native Concerns Collection


  • 1876, 1929, 1958-1997 , predominant 1970-1997 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

4.67 m of textual records and other material

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

-Pax worker in Paraguay
-served with Mennonite Pioneer Mission and later Native Ministries (Conference of Mennonites in Canada)
-MCC Canada Native Concerns director, 1973-1997

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Archival history

MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) began in the early 1920s, with Mennonites from the United States sending aid to famine stricken Mennonites in southern Russia. MCC Canada was formally established in 1963 when the Historic Peace Church Council of Canada, a Canada-wide inter-Mennonite peace organization, called a meeting of all existing Mennonite and Brethren in Christ peace, relief, and service agencies, which led to the formation of a national inter-Mennonite body that would unite all Canadian Mennonite groups in all these activities. From the beginning its founders agreed that MCC Canada (MCCC) would work closely with MCC (International).
MCCC (Mennonite Central Committee Canada) became the most comprehensive of Canadian Mennonite and Brethren in Christ organizations. The organization was given a broad mandate to work in the areas of peace education, relief and development, voluntary service, immigration, government contacts (lobbying), and other areas of mutual concern. Provincial MCCC offices were established from Ontario to British Columbia.
One of the many areas of work was identified as "Peace and Social Concerns". This committee appointed Menno Wiebe as full-time director of Native Concerns in 1974. This decision grew out of longer history of Mennonites and natives working together. In previous decades Mennonites sent mission workers to native areas. They realized that these two cultures shared some common values. They both had a concern for justice, a close connection to land, and a common understanding of peoplehood.
In 1975 MCCC participated in the "Inter-Church Task Force on Northern Flooding". This event brought people together to discuss and deal with effects of hydro-electric developments in northern Manitoba. It was shown that the Native communities were not sharing in the advantages that this project produced, but rather were suffering from a loss of land and traditional practices. MCCC continued to bring these concerns to the larger public as well as to the government.

In 1976 MCCC became a member of Project North which was a national coalition of churches concerned with northern development and its impact of Native communities. In the late 1980s this group changed it name to "Aboriginal Rights Coalition".

In 1976 a native elder commented on the high cost of food that needed to be brought into the community. In response, MCCC began the "Native Gardening Program" in 1977. Volunteers were given the basics of gardening and then send into the native communities to help establish gardens. This brought down food costs, built self reliance, and provided a cross-cultural exchange opportunity.

Other projects included promoting the healing of relationships between churches and native peoples, advocating for a land base for the Lubicon Cree of northern Alberta, advocating against low level military flights in Labrador, promoting economic development initiatives such as wild rice harvesting and processing, placing community workers in Port Hardy, Little Buffalo, and Cape Croker. Menno Wiebe was intimately involved in all of these projects. He retired from his position in 1997, after many years of building trust and a good rapport between the native peoples and MCCC.

These materials were collected by Menno Wiebe in his capacity as director of Native Concerns, MCC Canada.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Menno Wiebe donated these materials as well as many books to the CMBC library in 1998.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

This collection consists of 30 series:
-1) Education, 1967-1992
-2) Paraguay Materials, 1982-1987
-3) Minutes, 1980-1990
-4) Four World's Development Project, 1984-1987
-5) Project North, 1979-1993
-6) Native Language Studies, 1960-1993
-7) Plays Written by Menno Wiebe, 1984.
-8) Book Reviews, 1980s-1990s
-9) Manomin Wild Rice Materials, 1980s
-10) Government Related Materials, 1971-1994
-11) Environmental Impact Statements, 1985-1997
-12) Various Reports Related to Aboriginal Issues, 1971-1997
-13) Land and Treaty Regulations Materials, 1973-1995
-14) Reports About Aboriginal Issues Written by Mennonites, 1973-1993
-15) General MCC Materials, 1982-1988
-16) Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, 1986-1995
-17) Nechi Institute on Alcohol and Drug Education, 1983-1984
-18) Brochures, various dates
-19) Aboriginal Tribal Materials, 1975-1996
-20) Scattered Issues of Periodicals and Newspapers, 1970-1997
-21) Photographs, 1980-1993
-22) Audio Cassettes, [19-].
-23) Slide Presentations, [19-].
-24) Slides, various dates.
-25) Filmstrips, [19-].
-26) Video, 1986
-27) Films, [19-]- 1979
-28) Flags, [19-].
-29) Maps, 1876, 1929, 1958-1983
-30) Posters, [19-],1989-1994

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Inventory file list available (under series titles)

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Other material consists of: 267 col. photographs; 78 black and white photographs; 84 frames of col. negatives; 22 audio cassettes, 339 frames of filmstrips; approx. 130 minutes of moving pictures; 83 maps; 22 posters; 5 flags, and 1740 frames of slides.

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