You can’t change what you don’t know. So how much do you know about the impacts of colonization on Indigenous people in past generations and in the present? What does “MMIW” mean to you?
When we know the truth and embrace it, we begin the process of building and strengthening right relationships with our Indigenous neighbors. To that end, last month the ELCA launched a Truth and Healing Movement. Watch a video of Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton announcing the creation of the movement.
As explained in a news release, “[t]he ELCA’s Truth & Healing Movement will enlist and empower members to become involved in the[se] areas of focus … :
 development of appropriate settler narrative from a Lutheran perspective;
 encouraging the ritual practice of land acknowledgement;
 understanding Lutheran participation in Indian Boarding Schools; and
 support for communities impacted by murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls.”
Many resources are available to assist you and your congregational unit as you work on these four areas.
Let’s focus on missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW) as this Friday, May 5, is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Depending upon where you live, you might not be aware of the violence perpetrated against Indigenous women and girls. The MMIW movement advocates for the end of violence against Indigenous women and draws attention to the high rates of disappearances and murders of Indigenous women and girls. The root causes lie in colonization and historical trauma, racism, and sexual objectification.
“Women of the ELCA has been involved in the anti-trafficking effort for nearly two decades. It is only natural, then, that we continue this important justice work with a focus on MMIW,” says Linda Post Bushkofsky, executive director.
To learn more about MMIW, start with the Vine Deloria Jr. Theological Symposium that occurred last November, hosted by the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Several videos are available online so you and the women of your congregation can better understand the issue and begin to bring awareness to the broader church. A simple Internet search will provide many additional resources.
Plan to attend the Just Love Gathering this September where you can learn more about the ELCA’s Truth and Healing Movement and the MMIW movement.