In Returning the Sacred Red Rock to the Dakota, Methodists Want to Build Relationships, Lead State Towards Healing Path

The Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC) is in the early stages of returning In-Yan Sa (the sacred Red Rock) to the Dakota people, according to an article the UMC published online. The UMC says this is part of a larger effort of healing, building relationships with indigenous peoples, and leading the rest of Minnesota along this important journey.

(The Dakota word for the Red Rock also is spelled Eyah-Shaw.)

The article continued:

“We live in Dakota and Ojibwa lands—land systematically taken from the Dakota and Ojibwa through treaties violated or broken by the U.S. government, land long sacred to its native inhabitants,” said Bishop Ough. “Since the 2012 General Conference, our Minnesota Conference Commission on Native American Ministry has been preparing us to walk the path of peace and reconciliation with the Dakota people and to heal the lingering wounds form the 1862 U.S.-Dakota War. This is the moment for the Minnesota Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church to lead the entire state down this path of healing and reconciliation. This is the moment to return Eyah-Shaw. This would be a powerful and just step toward peace and harmony.”

The Red Rock currently sits in front of the Newport UMC.

[Rev. Linda Gesling, Newport UMC’s pastor] said her congregation hopes that the return of the Red Rock may be able to serve as an example within and also beyond the United Methodist Church.

“There are so many things we could name that have been taken from native people,” she said. “Are there other things that could also be ‘rematriated’? Are there other places sacred to native people that we can give them access to? Can this be part of a series of taking things that have power and meaning for the native people and making sure that they have more access and ownership? We want to show others how to do this in a meaningful and respectful way.”

Bill Konrardy, who volunteers with the UMC Minnesota Conference’s Commission on Native American Ministry, also is quoted in the story:

“To me, this is a first step,” said Konrardy. “It’s evidence that maybe we can be in repentance, but I find it troubling when we think about a singular act of repentance. This is only the beginning of the possibilities.”

For more background, see our earlier blog: Methodist Church Takes Another Step Towards Returning the Dakota People’s Sacred Red Rock.

DAPL Lawsuit Update

On Aug. 7, “The Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes, have requested that the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) be shut down while a U.S. District Court Judge decides whether to mandate further environmental review,” according to an article in Indian Country Today.

The judge is expected to rule on at least part of the case by next month. Click on the link for more details.

Mennonites Release New Study Resources on the Doctrine of Discovery

The Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) has released a new set of study resources on the Doctrine of Discovery, including a new documentary. It is available on the MCC’s “Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery” webpage.

In this 43-minute documentary, you will learn about the history of the Doctrine of Discovery, its basis in Christian theology, it effects on Indigenous Peoples today, and how we might start to undo it. “Doctrine of Discovery: In the Name of Christ” features interviews with Indigenous scholars, leaders and activists from around the world, as well as Christian theologians and pastors. Made for a Mennonite audience, the documentary is also relevant for a wider Christian audience.

It also has a Doctrine of Discovery Facebook Page.

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