As a child in the church, I heard stories from the pulpit and in Sunday school that formed my faith. Biblical stories about justice and loyalty, about people doing what was right and kind affected me most. These stories instilled in me the ability to recognize what is right and just in this world.
From my father’s side, I am a Cherokee Native American. My grandmother told me the stories of the Cherokee people–how our family walked the Trail of Tears from our ancestral lands to what is now Cherokee Nation in Northeastern Oklahoma. She said the European settlers took our land and forced our ancestors on a 2,000-mile death march during the frigid winter.
The wound caused by genocide and colonization can only begin to heal by telling the truth of our history and how it began. Indigenous Peoples’ Day recognizes that truth, while also celebrating and honoring Native people. Indigenous Peoples’ Day tells a story of survival, family, love, and faith and that these sacred lands have an indigenous future.
This message is excerpted from “Indigenous People’s Day: How storytelling brings truth to light” by Isabell Retamoza from the October 14, 2019, blog of the Women of the ELCA. Today is the 19th Sunday after Pentecost. Today is Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the United States.
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