October 11

 

Reflection

Before the arrival of Columbus, the indigenous Americans were successful self-sufficient communities that sustained life for thousands of years. Each year, the movement to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day spreads across the United States. The first seed of Indigenous Peoples’ Day was planted at a U.N. international conference on discrimination in 1977. For the Native Americans, Columbus Day glorified the 500 years of colonial oppression by European explorers like Columbus and those who settled in America. Indigenous Peoples’ Day draws attention to the trauma, and broken promises they endured. The traditions and cultures of the Indigenous People, not just in America, but around the world are remembered on Indigenous Peoples’ Day.  It celebrates, recognizes, and honors their way of life and culture which carries wisdom and valuable insights into how we can live life more sustainably.

Prayer

Creator of all people of every land. we give thanks and respect to those who first occupied this land we are upon. Renew the circle of Earth and turn the hearts of all people to one another. 

Action

Learn whose land you live on. At events and rituals acknowledge them. Where are these people located now? Make yourself familiar with their history and culture. Teach the children about it.

Suggested Reading

Native people are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ.
Pope Paul III in1537

Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, economic, social and cultural characteristics, as well as their legal systems while retaining their rights to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social, and cultural life of the State.
Article 4, from Draft Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

We all need to work together to promote and protect the rights of indigenous peoples who have struggled so long for their voices to be heard, especially in this building.
María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the UN General Assembly for the73rd session

The land is sacred. These words are at the core of your being. The land is our mother, the rivers our blood. Take our land away and we die. That is, the Indian in us dies.”
Mary Brave Bird, Sicangu Lakota writer, and activist

If people lose their land, they have nothing. You lose your land — you lose your culture, you lose self.
Richard Gere

When explorers first encountered my people, they called us heathens, sun worshippers. They didn’t understand that the sun is a relative and illuminates our path on this earth.
Joy Harjo

We are seeing healing among the stolen generations, and initiatives that are enabling Indigenous people to make their distinctive contribution to our national life.
Malcolm Fraser

All things are connected like the blood that unites us, We did not weave the web of life. We are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
Chief Seattle

My experience in living and working with indigenous people has given me the hope that I have – they have taught me concretely that humans have the capacity to be marvelous, and not destructive.
Juan Pablo Orrego

 

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