Following a week of shakeups, Siloam Mission's newest new Chair of the Board says the organization has "a lot to learn."

Last week, Jim Bell and Siloam parted ways after Not My Siloam, a group of former employees, and supporters of the mission brought forward allegations that the mission was preventing Indigenous cultural activity and programming.

The new Chair of the Board, Garth Manness, says the board has been trying to identify "what is it that we do need to do" and "what is the right thing to do here with respect to our patrons to move to the point of the potential to heal." 

As they look at improving Indigenous teaching and healing methods, Manness says Siloam will continue to be a Christian organization, saying their commitment to reconciliation strengthens those values. 

"We believe that we can enhance our Christianity. We are not making any changes to our mission and vision and values, our vision is that Siloam is a place for support, healing and recovery."

Manness says the Christian principles that Siloam Mission will continue to be present at the mission.

"We are an organization that has been built on Christian principles. It has offered all of the services that we have offered for over 30 years out of a love for Christ."

He says they are focussing on finding the things that "actually help people heal and recover."


Next steps

He says for the past week the board has done a lot of soul searching to figure out how to move forward.

''We are going to complete a comprehensive Indigenous relationship strategy," he says. "That is going to take a look with our commitments in respect to reconciliation."

The new Chair says 60 per cent of their patrons are Indigenous, noting that Siloam feels it is important to fulfill earlier promises to help the Indigenous population with their specific needs. 

Manness is pointing to two earlier agreements as guiding concepts for Siloam's next steps in reconciliation. 

"We will be looking at the to Call to Action number 48, which is the call to churches and church-like organizations. We also are going to look to fulfill our obligation under the Winnipeg Indigenous Accord."

Part of the later commitment is setting up an Indigenous advisory council.