Naming Doesn’t Have To Mean Shaming

Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, the school and church I attended and the family and social conversations I witnessed never broached the subject of what we did and were doing to Indigenous peoples in order to hold the life of comfort and privilege that we took as our birthright. I had no idea I was living on unceded land. 

I love my family and many of the traditions I have grown up with and still incorporate some into my life. But the stories I was told and taught were white-washed, to say the least. I just thought it was us sailing over on the Mayflower and the Indians happily giving us corn and celebrating Thanksgiving and teaching us how to be Cowboys. That was the extent of my education. Columbus discovered America! What a great guy!

Now, fortunately, the horrors of what colonialist did to Natives of this land and the continued manipulation of their lives in order to have it our white way are openly Named and Amplified and we are being invited in, to acknowledge and offer reparations for a destruction of culture and land that rips my heart in two when I pay attention to real history. I won’t stick my head in the sand in order to feel good.

To name something, to bring it to consciousness, does not have to simultaneously be shaming or disregarding the things you hold dear.  Fear of being wrong or bad or having done something evil that perhaps you were not even aware you were doing brings up denial, defense and anger and holds us back from healing. You have to be brave and feel hard things and have courage to explore the truth. And the truth is, in order for us white people to ‘own’ this country, Indigenous People have been stolen from (including their children being stolen from their homes), mocked, belittled, raped, pilfered, murdered and more, and it is our responsibility to own up to this and make amends.

On this day, Indigenous People’s Day, I’m sharing some websites that help me learn about the resilience and integrity and courage and beauty and hope of the true elders of this continent, and how I can support the continual healing. May you find time to hold in your heart the grief and the healing that needs to be felt and activated if we want a healthy future for the human race.

Native Land

Indigenous Peoples Movement

International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs

Partnership with Native Americans