LIFTING UP INDIGENOUS PEOPLESUnitarian Universalism is a living faith, calling us to live into our values and Principles, calling us to shape the world in an image of love and justice, calling us to undo systems and a culture of racial oppression and violence, calling us into right relations and accountability. This week especially, we deepen our faith and our commitment to fully living into that faith by listening to and centering the voices of Indigenous Peoples.
In a 2018 presentation to UU Religious Educators, Julica Hermann de la Fuente reminded us that we each need to start where we are and take the next step that is ours to take. She drew a circle, then delineated a small area that looked like cutting a single slice of cake. That small area represented what we know we know. The remainder of the circle outside that slice represented what we don't know we don't know. This week, I invite you to take a step across into the area of what you don't know you don't know. Seek out indigenous perspectives and sit with what they need us to know about the holiday we call Thanksgiving. Learn about your local indigenous history and whose land we occupy. Allow this to expand what you now know. Then, around the meal table with family and friends, remember that we need to make room for each person to take their next step. As Julica taught, if we push them to the far side of their circle of understanding, we shut down communication and learning. Educate yourself. Encourage others to step across their line of understanding. Offer resources so yours is not the only voice. Advance the work of justice while remembering we are all on a journey. Below are some resources shared by the Center for Racial Justice in Education.
Native American Perspectives, Contributions and Celebrations
- Do Native Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving and Should You? By Nadra Kareem Nittle
- After the Mayflower (Video) By WGBH Educational Foundation
As the holidays approach, some will find themselves at dinner tables and family gatherings where discussions can be challenging, reflecting a range of positions and understanding about history and its legacy. Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) offers this Holiday Placemat for Indigenous Justice with suggestions for navigating the season.
- Teaching Tolerance, Teaching Thanksgiving in a Socially Responsible Way
- PBS, A Fresh Look at Thanksgiving
- Zinn Education Project, Native American
- Westchester Magazine, Hudson Valley's Tribal History
- National Museum of the American Indian in NYC
- Native Lands Map