UU Group to Raise Awareness About the Doctrine of Discovery, Book Reading, and More!

Goodbye, Columbus!

Another faith community in Minnesota has formed to draw attention to the devastating impact on Native peoples of Christopher Columbus and the Doctrine of Discovery. Members of the Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Minnesota have created the group: Goodbye Columbus Minnesota … and Beyond!

According to an email:

We are called Goodbye Columbus because one of our goals is to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Minnesota. The idea behind this is not just to stop celebrating a man who started a genocide (though that is part of it), it is also to raise awareness of how the stories we tell ourselves as a society affect how we see ourselves and others. In this case, it is the story of the Doctrine of Discovery and genocide that has not been truthfully told. This is something we are working to change.
We are looking for other individuals and organizations who would be interested in supporting and being involved in these efforts, or who are already involved in similar efforts.
The group also has a Facebook Page. For more information, contact Melissa Birch at mblbirch01@yahoo.com

Stories from Leech Lake: 95-year old Ojibwe author to read from her first book, telling of her life and culture

Meet 95-year-old author Dorothy Dora Whipple for a book reading, signing, and reception in celebration of her first book Chi-mewinzha: Ojibwe Stories from Leech Lake.

  • The event is free. It is Wednesday, June 24th, 1-4 p.m., at Bii Di Gain Dash Elder Housing, 2400 Bloomington Avenue, Minneapolis.

According to a release:

Dorothy, whose Anishinaabe name is Mezinaashiikwe, is an elder from the Leech Lake Reservation. She has spoken Ojibwe her entire life and has worked on numerous Ojibwe language revitalization projects. A bilingual record of Dorothy’s stories, ranging from personal history to cultural teachings, Chi-mewinzha (long ago) presents this venerable elder’s words in the original Ojibwe, painstakingly transcribed, and in English translation to create an invaluable resource for learning this cherished language. The events of Dorothy’s life resonate with Ojibwe life and culture through the twentieth century. Not to be missed! For more, contact Birchbark Books at 612-374-4023.

Ongoing Fallout from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission

On June 2, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued its report on the impact of residential schools on its First Peoples; analysis and criticism has been coming in. They include a June 11 New York Times Op/Ed by Thomas King, a novelist who holds both U.S. and Canadian citizenship, and who is part Cherokee. His piece was entitled: No Justice for Canada’s First Peoples. It offers both a critique and some optimism. Here is the critique:

Had this been a royal commission on tar sands development or a white paper on tax breaks for corporations, the recommendations would have been applauded, but as the report was on Canada’s native population, the folks in power were able to curb their enthusiasm, opting instead to wait to see the full report.

Just another day at the office.

Here’s what’s most likely to happen. Those recommendations that are, in large part, cosmetic or symbolic may well be adopted. Any recommendations with price tags attached — funding for improved health care on reserves — or recommendations that might open the government to legal action will be ignored.

Here’s the hopeful part:

So what’s the benefit of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission? There are a number of answers, but the most important is that it gave the people most affected by the abuses of residential schools an occasion to have their voices heard, to have their stories recorded. It gave them the chance to speak the truth and to speak it loud.

Will it help? Who knows. Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t. But for the commissioners and especially for those people who lived through the distress and fear and shock of residential school life and who were brave enough to tell their stories, those moments were powerful and possibly, just possibly, even healing.


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