Last year in the height of the pandemic, many people wondered aloud about an impending apocalypse. Some of the commentary was light-hearted zombie jokes, others sincere concerns about the state of the world. Amidst all the end-of-days rhetoric, an Indigenous Twitter user noted “Something I don’t think occurs to settlers is that Indigenous people already are living in a post-apocalyptic world.” If you have not considered this statement before, I encourage you to take a slow breath and sit with it for a while.
This Monday we will celebrate Indigenous People’s Day, formerly Columbus Day. Monday is a chance to acknowledge that Columbus did not discover America, Indigenous people did. Monday is also a chance to remember that Native Americans continue to live in a post-apocalyptic nightmare, dealing with extremely high rates of Covid; generational trauma of Christian-based residential schools; an abhorrent number of missing women and children; and other deep inequities that go along with life on and off the reservation.
I believe that as Christian Americans, we are called to acknowledge the sins of our ancestors, and to repent not just through prayer, but to atone through right action.
You’ve maybe been at an event where the speaker starts out by saying “My name is Holly and I am currently on stolen Nacotchank land.” This year, I encourage you to take the practice of land naming a step further and donate to local tribal organizations; support indigenous authors and artists; and learn more about the land you occupy.
Let us take time this weekend to consider the history of colonization not taught in schools. Let us sit with our own biases, and current complacencies in the plight of Native American people. This weekend is not the time to look away. This is an opportunity to sit with ourselves, sit with God, and know that we are called as followers of Christ to do better. May it be so.
In peace and community and land back,
Questions to Ponder:
- What stolen land are you on? What land is our church on?
- What did you learn about colonization of the Americas in school? In church?
- How can we reconcile the history of Christian colonialism in the United States, with our current mission to nurture love of God and love of neighbor in the world? Where might healing and reconciliation occur?