Giving Substance to Words
Saying the right words at the appropriate time and place is important, but â€”to paraphrase Jamesâ€”words without actions are also dead.
Deeds give substance to what we say.
We Have Heard from Native/Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines, Norway, and the United States
- Listen to us!
- We are invisible because of our small and scattered demographics. We are voiceless because you do not listen. We are speaking, but you do not hear.
- Know your history----and tell it accurately.
- The atrocities and injustices of the past live on in the historic trauma of today.
- Your guilt does not help us. Your partnership and advocacy does.
- Words mean nothing if not followed by action.
- Become partners with us in our political issues.
- The sins of omission are just as egregious as the sins of commission.
- We are not all alike. We do not always agree. There is great diversity of gifts, culture, perspective and identity among indigenous people.
- Repentance is a processâ€”not a program!
- We are not victims.
- We want to walk into a new future with you, not led by you.
- We are not sure the Act of Repentance will help. The church has broken promises and participated in the failure of the government to keep its promises.
- You (the church) need healing also.
- We have rich cultures and spiritual treasures that we might share with you if we come to trust you.
- Build relationships with us on a personal level. This takes time and honesty.
Healing Relationships in Your Annual or Central Conference
What can you do?
- Meet and establish relationships with native and/or indigenous people in your community and conference
- Learn the history of relationships with the indigenous population and The United Methodist Churchâ€™s role in the history of expansion in that area
- Listen to indigenous persons to learn the current issues of the indigenous or native communities in your conference
- Do the appropriate study to prepare for an Act of Repentance and Healing in your conference
- Commit to host an Act of Repentance and Healing in your conference
- If you have already held an Act of Repentance in your conference, develop concrete steps to follow up
- Develop relationships by partnering congregations with indigenous congregations in your conference
- Support Native Ministries Sunday and indigenous and native ministries in your conference
- Support committees on Native American and indigenous ministries
- Establish committees of support in partnership with indigenous people
- Promote the United Nations Resolution on Indigenous Rights
- Participate in efforts to support sacred sites or land within your conference
- Support efforts to repatriate ancestral remains
- Develop relationships with indigenous communities outside your conference whose ancestors were removed from their lands within your conference
- Develop a statement that demonstrates respect for the diversity of indigenous ministries
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