People ask me if I believe in god… I tell them I pray to creator.Indigenous
They tell me Jesus died for me… I tell them my ancestors did.
They say I will burn in hell for not following the Bible, but it has been used as weapon to colonize and murder my people…
for me it’s spirituality over religion. I don’t hate people for going to church, but I do hate what the churches have done to us…
before colonization we had our own ways and ceremonies, I choose the path of my ancestors.
I find myself in a spiritual crisis regarding Christianity. I realize being a Christian and professing to be a Christian are often not the same.
The Christianity I cannot be part of is the weaponized version of a religion. One that created and enforced the doctrines of discovery which gave permission to steal indigenous lands and instructed killing the people living on them. That codified white supremacy and empire. That drove global colonization.
One that raised great wealth from stolen lands and labor. And then built ostentatious churches in the midst of profound poverty.
One that tore native children from their families and took them far away, to places of forced assimilation where every kind of abuse was visited upon them. Where thousands died or were killed. And their families were often not even told of their deaths. Where other children were sometimes forced to dig the graves. The trauma passed from generation to generation. An open wound in Indigenous communities to this day that I have witnessed in my native friends. A wound that has been ripped open with the verification of the remains of thousands of native children. With many more places that haven’t been scanned yet.
Part of the reason for my crisis is reading “American Holocaust: Columbus and the Conquest of the New World” by David Stannard. Recent scholarship has revealed sophisticated Indigenous communities in the Americas prior to the arrival of white men. And much larger numbers of Indigenous people, millions more than previously thought. Meaning millions more deaths occurred.
The destruction of the Indians of the Americas was, far and away, the most massive act of genocide in the history of the world.Stannard, David E. American Holocaust: Columbus and the Conquest of the New World. Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.
More often than we realize, in ways we don’t recognize, white Quakers continue to benefit from the American Holocaust. Continue white domination.
We made a small step in learning about land acknowledgements. But those are empty statements if we don’t take the next steps. We need actions, not more words.
The reason I write and talk so much about my experiences with Mutual Aid is because that gets to the root causes of white supremacy. Mutual Aid exemplifies what Christianity is supposed to be. Mutual Aid is a means to begin decolonization.
As painful as it is, I know out of my confusion and distress, I will be led to a better place.
Real radicalism implores us to tell the whole ugly truth, even when it is inconvenient.Brittney Cooper, Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower (2018)