Oct 11, 2021Justice: Indigenous People

Justice: Indigenous People

Kim Snodgrass One-minute read.   Resources
Enmegahbowh (left) with Rev. James Lloyd Breck (right) and Isaac Manitowab (center).

Love is something we do. Let us refuse to demonize those who disagree with us. Let us try our best to make our words and actions a witness to the world. Because, the love that acts to care for vulnerable people imparts the love God has for all.

Each month, a portion of the Everything Holy packets focuses on the words and works we can participate in to help bring about justice in the world. In October, the focal point was on Indigenous People.

Through Words:

Creator God, from you every family in heaven and earth takes its name. You have rooted and grounded us in your covenant love and empowered us by your Spirit to speak the truth in love, and to walk in your way towards justice and wholeness. Mercifully grant that your people, journeying together in partnership, may be strengthened and guided to help one another to grow into the full stature of Christ, who is our light and our life. Amen

Through Works: Learning transforms

  • The terms American Indian, Indian, Native American, or Native are all acceptable, but the consensus is that whenever possible, Native people prefer to be called by their specific tribal name.
  • In 2020, the number of people who identified as Native American and Alaska Native (AIAN) alone and in combination with another race was 9.7 million, which accounts for 2.9% of the U.S. population.
  • Native American tribes have functioning governments with councils, a social system in place that ensured everyone in the tribe was taken care of, and laws to govern people.
  • An Indian tribe recognized by the United States government usually possesses tribal sovereignty, a “dependent sovereign nation” status with the Federal Government that is similar to that of a state in some situations, and that of a nation in others. There are currently more than 550 federally recognized tribes in the United States,
  • Not until 1924 were all Native Americans granted citizenship. Presently all Native Americans born within the territorial limits of the United States are by law citizens. Native Americans have had the privilege of voting in national elections since 1924; however, until recently some states prohibited Native Americans from voting in local elections.
  • Native Americans have to pay federal income taxes, the same as other American families, however the different status of an Indian tribe might make it not taxable by states or the federal government.

Through Works: Action transforms

  • Donate money to programs that support Native American communities. Some of the highest-ranked Native American charities include the Native American Heritage Association, the First Nations Development Institute, the Native American Rights Fund and the Adopt-a-Native-Elder Program.
  • Buy Native American products. Whenever you purchase a handmade piece of artwork or clothing you are not only supporting the native economy but also preserving the culture.
  • The version of history taught in school may not have included a lot of details about Native culture and history – learn more. The First Nations Development Institute’s website is a good place to begin, watch the PBS Native American series, or the Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown is a well-known and highly recommended book.
  • Visit or Volunteer on a Reservation. If you have never visited a Native reservation, it is difficult to understand the actual reality of what the lives of modern Native American people are like.

Lord, help us do our part to recognize, acknowledge and support the dignity of every human being through our words and works so that we may be transformed in the process.

Kim Snodgrass is Assistant to the Bishop for Christian Formation.

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