Statements

A Statement from the Center for Indigenous Ministries (DOC) regarding Covenantal relationship with the Christian Church (DOC)
September 22, 2022

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A Statement from the Center for Indigenous Ministries (DOC) regarding
Indigenous Residential / Boarding Schools of Canada and the United States

Over the last several months nearly 1,000 unmarked children graves were discovered at former residential schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, Canada.  This unspeakable news is not lost on US Indigenous parents whose children were also forced to attend Boarding Schools.

There is no acceptable response to the appalling reality that Canadian Residential Schools and US Boarding Schools interred hundreds of Indigenous children in unmarked graves.  Nor to the “why” Christian institutions developed theologies supporting political mandates of separating Indigenous children from their parents.  In the wake of such horrendous news, Christian congregations must begin to critically question their colonial-settler history of place and the theology on which it is predicated: Who are the ancestral occupiers of the land ? How was the land obtained on which the building stands?  How does Christian theology support Indigenous removal? How was God experienced before Christianity?  This surely is not easy work.  However, not do so is to mire our children in the muck of false goodness.

When Christians reflect on their institutional structures, historically, they soon learn to recognize instances where these institutions participated in the colonization of the Canadian and US landscape.  Understanding Christian complicity in the destruction of Indigenous familial and community structure give Christians the moral authority to compel Church and Government(s) to become accountabile for acts of colonization.  This obligation is all the more relevant for Christian institutions who have recognized their complicity by repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery.

Becoming institutionally accountable to the Indigenous landscape allows Christians to move beyond statements of apology, confession, or solidarity (like this one).  Becoming accountable to the landscape shifts Christianity theology to a hermeneutic of indigeneity; where Indigenous well-being is valued over agendas and outcomes; where Christian institutions publicly name their participation in the evil of colonization; and where the Indigenous landscape is known as family.

The Center for Indigenous Ministries (DOC) believes such justice work is possible by collaborating with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to establish a Truth and Healing Council who will: Openly listen to Indigenous voices;  hear how Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)’s work impacted Indigenous lives, the lives of their ancestors, and the lives of their children; gather historical and current Christian Church (DOC) institutional documents authenticating Disciples colonial-settler relationship with the Indigenous landscape and her People(s); Document and Record the haunting stories and histories arising from colonial-settler relationship; AND create a generational restorative and reparative path toward harmony.

Admittedly, Truth and Healing work is not easy.  Truth will surely expose and publicize the contagion of institutional harm and open wounds of historical trauma.  This is why the work must engage acts of healing,  be watchful for the indwelling of grace, and constantly welcome the transformative love of Creation.

As people of an Indigenous landscape who have experienced false promises, we call on our Church kin to help us become a people of action and change and accountability.  For if we fail, as we noted earlier, we will mire our children in the muck of false goodness.

Center for Indigenous Ministries (DOC)
Lisa Barnett and Crow Eddy—Co-Moderators     David B Bell—CIM Minister for Indigenous Justice

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Center for Indigenous Ministries (Disciples of Christ)
Statement of Support for the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band of California
February 25, 2021

Center for Indigenous Ministries (DOC)
9000 Campbell Rd.
Toppenish, WA  98948

February 25, 2021

Clerk of the Board of Supervisors
Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors
70 West Wedding St., East Wing 10th Floor
San Jose, CA 95110

Dear County Board of Supervisors,

We who have signed below are writing to express strong opposition to the mining permit application for the Juristac lands/Sargent Ranch parcel located south of Gilroy.

The ancestral and spiritual home of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, Juristac must be saved for our children’s children.  Most all of the tradition land of the Amah Mutsun has been lost in the course of modern California history.  Resulting in the loss of Mutsun cultural resources.  All people have a need to reserve and maintain the spiritual integrity of Juristac.  For within the landscape of Juristic lies the welfare of our ancestors of yesterday and tomorrow.

The proposed mining operations would irreparably harm Mutsun cultural resources and the spiritual integrity of Juristac.

Sincerely,

David B. Bell:  Minister for Indigenous Justice
Advisory Council of Center for Indigenous Ministries (Disciples of Christ)

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Center for Indigenous Ministries (Disciples of Christ)
Statement of Support for Black Lives Matter! and a DOC Narrative to Dismantle Racism
June 10, 2020

Recognizing the ways in which the lives of racialized groups affect each other across time and space, the Center for Indigenous Ministries (Disciples of Christ) stands with the National Convocation and all who commit themselves to exposing and eradicating the sin of racism from our world. Indigenous ontologies and cosmologies reflect the view that the cosmos is relational and in order to walk a moral path, humans must develop a moral consciousness that recognizes that all persons have moral worth, interests, practices, and customs. Thus, we affirm and support the call that Black Lives Matter!

We agree with Rev Dr. Timothy James admonition that “we must work within the church to have honest dialogue, confession, and deep conversation regarding the narrative that needs to be adjusted to bring about a change and the dismantling of racism.” As Indigenous and non-Indigenous people working for justice, the Center for Indigenous Ministries (Disciples of Christ) also commits to taking our Anti-Racist/Pro-Reconciling initiative to the next level—to not only remember George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Atatiana Jefferson, and so many more, but also to commit to doing the hard work of exposing and rooting out the systemic and institutional racism in the church and society.

Letters

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe & Dakota Access Pipeline
September 1, 2016
David Archambault II, Chairman
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Building #1 N Standing Rock Avenue
P.O. Box D
Fort Yates, North Dakota 58538

Dear Chairman Archambault,
We are a small group of interfaith leaders in western Washington state, following through on historic commitments to affirm the sovereignty of Native people and work together to overturn the injustices perpetrated in the name of destiny, progress, and use of land and resources.

In our own region we join the efforts of the Lummi Nation to resist the exploitation of sacred lands for a coal terminal; support the canoe paddle journey, renewing coastal traditions and strengthening indigenous identity; and participate in building relationships between faith communities and Native Nations.

We want to express our outrage and solidarity with the Sioux Nation, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline across your sacred and ancestral lands. We call for the respect of the sovereign rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its peoples, protection of its sacred and ancestral lands, and for the immediate and permanent halt of the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. We are asking our members and participants to voice their opposition in messages to the Army Corps of Engineers, President Obama, and Congress.

With our deepest respect and support.

Anita Amstutz, Anabaptist Coalition to Dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery
Sarah Augustine, Suriname Indigenous Health Fund (SIHF) and Anabaptist Coalition to Dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery
The Rev. David B. Bell, Yakama Christian Mission
The Rev. Paul Benz, Faith Action Network
LeeAnne Beres, Executive Director for Earth Ministry
Marilyn Liden Bode, Sacred Water Canoe Family and ELCA
Elise DeGooyer, Faith Action Network
The Rev. Michael Denton, Conference Minister, Pacific Northwest Conference of The United Church of Christ
Jessie Dye, Program and Outreach Director for Earth Ministry
Thomas C. Ewell, Religious Society of Friends, Friends Committee on Washington Public Policy
Luke Gasho, Anabaptist Coalition to Dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery
Kristina Gonzalez, PNW Conference, United Methodist Church
Sheri Hostetler, Anabaptist Coalition to Dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery
Stacy D. Kitahata, Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship
Jeannette & Larry Larson, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Abbot Genjo Marinello, Dai Bai Zan Cho Bo Zen Temple
The Rev. Dr. Marcia Patton, Evergreen Baptist Association
Tim Nafziger, Anabaptist Coalition to Dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery
Michael Ramos, Church Council of Greater Seattle
The Rev. B. Kirby Unti, Bishop, NW Washington Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
* affiliations for identification purposes only
c/o 3720 Airport Way S., Seattle, WA 98134

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Native Land: Resource of whose Traditional Native you might reside upon.