by Ely Smith
Following the Women of the ELCA executive board meeting last month in Baltimore, I traveled on to Washington D.C.
I arrived in time for a tour of the highlights. Our guide first took us to some installations depicting the culture and art of various tribes. Then we entered the treaty exhibit.
[bctt tweet=”Let us remember that every one of us is living on land that was never ours…” username=”womenoftheelca”]
The exhibit was heavy on text, but the guide led us to a large photo of several young children, dressed in white and kneeling in prayer. The “good Christians” had taken them away from their parents and housed them in “boarding schools.” They cut their hair, punished them if they spoke anything but English and forbid any articles or practices of their culture.
The guide then produced from his pouch several laminated sheets of color-coded U.S. maps that showed tribal lands in green. Naturally, the one from the 1400s was all green. With each treaty, the green became less and less, until today’s maps showed only pin pricks of green.
November is National American Indian Heritage Month. Let us remember that every one of us is living on land that was never ours, land that is soaked with the tears of those who lived here before us.
Ely Smith is serving her second term on the Women of the ELCA executive board. She was elected treasurer of the board in 2014. Read more Women of the ELCA blogs here.
This past August, the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly passed a resolution repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery. In it, the assembly pledged “to practice accompaniment with Native peoples.” Recently ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton released a statement concerning the Dakota Access Pipeline which says in part, “I believe that we are called as a church to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe: to stand with the Tribe as they seek justice, to encourage our congregations to pray for them and to offer material support, and to examine the racism inherent in our system that contributes to the current crisis.” Read the complete statement here.