The Bishop’s E-pistle: Indigenous People’s Day

Last year, our Diocesan Convention passed Resolution 2019-4 authorizing the observance of Indigenous People’s Day on the second Monday of October. You can find the appointed readings for that observance, as well as additional liturgical resources from our Council for Native American Ministry, on the ministry webpage.

I am also grateful to Governor Doug Ducey for his similar proclamation last week.

Listening intentionally to indigenous stories and indigenous voices is something we have often failed to do as a culture and a church, even in our anti-racism work. Those of us who are not Native American may find that our beliefs about Native culture are shaped more by elementary history textbooks and old Western movies than by actual Native Americans.

So in addition to your prayers on October 12, I invite clergy and lay members of our diocese to join me for a second round of the Bishop’s Book Club on Thursdays from 5:00-6:00 p.m., October 22-November 12. We will be reading Kaitlin B. Curtice’s Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God. The book is a memoir of Curtice’s experience of reclaiming her heritage as a citizen of the Potawatomi nation and a Christian. Her poetry and use of Potawatomi flood stories make the book sing, and encourages us to reflect upon our own origin stories. Visit the event registration page to join the Book Club.

I will close with a prayer from the resources gathered by our Council for Native American Ministry:

Jesus Christ, our leader, you are the Son of the Creator. Today we became your children today we became your grandchildren. We will live as you have taught us. We will follow your commandments. Watch over us. Speak to us from the trees, from the grass and herbs, from the breeze, from the passing rain, from the passing thunder and the deep waters. Before us there is beauty, behind us there is beauty. Allow us to walk a long life in happiness completed in beauty. Amen. (From the Liturgy of St. John’s, Red Lake, MN).