Moral reckoning: A Presbyterian Church tests model to surrender wealth to Afro American, Indigenous communities

Part I in a series on Restorative Actions

There’s a growing understanding and desire among mainline U.S. Protestant churches to make repairs – acts that go beyond mere words – for their role in the theft of Indigenous lands and the stolen labor of African slaves.

Yet churches struggle to figure out the nuts-and-bolts of how to do it, particularly around financial payments.

Oak Grove Presbyterian, a predominantly white church in Bloomington, is now the testing ground of one such effort, called Restorative Actions. It sits at the intersection of theology, justice, and economics.

“It seeks to answer the question, ‘what can we do?’ by providing one avenue to work toward decolonizing wealth,” the Restorative Actions website says.

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Weekend Reads: Landback lessons, MN/DOT marks 1854 treaty boundaries, Mary Lyons in Glasgow, and Line 3 updates

In this blog:

  • A Tale of Two Landbacks
  • The Guardian: Osage Nation decries sale of sacred cave
  • MPR: MN/DOT erects road signs to mark treaty boundaries
  • Anishinaabe Grandmother Mary Lyons in Glasgow, speaking for the land and water
  • The Progressive: How Superior, Wisc. became a sacrifice zone for the oil industry
  • Line 3 resisters keep bird dogging Sen. Klobuchar on her Line 3 inaction
  • Check out ‘Let the Wave’ Line 3 video
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Good words will not give me back my children: Truth telling and historical recovery as the foundations for racial justice

Prof. Yohuru Williams faced a tall task: How, in a single speech, do you set the stage for a decade-long, faith-based initiative of truth telling, education, and repair with Native American and African American communities in Minnesota?

Williams, an author and Founding Director of St. Thomas University’s Racial Justice Initiative, was one of two keynote speakers invited by the Minnesota Council of Churches to help launch its effort: Truth and Reparations: Dismantling the Structures and Repairing the Damage of Racism in Minnesota.

The talk, given Sept. 25 at Plymouth Congregational Church, brought in many voices from the struggle: James Baldwin, Isabel Wilkerson, Frederick Douglass, Stokley Carmichael and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It included a number of historical and personal stories as metaphors for our current work of addressing racism.

His talk would return to a central theme: “Good words are not enough.”

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City of Minneapolis offers self-serving ‘Racial Equity Impact Analysis’ on proposed Public Works project in East Phillips Neighborhood

Backers of the East Phillips Urban Farm development held a press conference at City Hall Tuesday.

The Minneapolis City Council’s Policy & Government Oversight Committee will vote Wednesday afternoon on directing staff to move forward with its Public Works expansion plan in the East Phillips neighborhood, one opposed by neighborhood leaders.

The docket includes the city’s “Racial Equity Impact Analysis” for the project, something that assesses how it aligns “with the City’s Southside Green Zone policy, the City’s resolution declaring racism a public health emergency, and the City’s resolution establishing a truth and reconciliation process.”

The city offers a self-serving and weak racial equity analysis, raising questions about the city’s understanding of, and commitment to, racial justice.

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City of Minneapolis suppressed staff report favorable to the East Phillips Urban Farm Project

The city of Minneapolis inexplicably has kept a report from public view that would provide a win-win-win-win — for the East Phillips’ Urban Farm development, the city’s Water Works facility upgrade, the city’s climate goals, and the city taxpayer.

The report was leaked to the public, apparently some time last week.

The city’s Public Works Department issued a statement that the report was no more than “an informal, internally drafted report for contingency planning purposes only.”

Joe Vital, a South Minneapolis community organizer who backs the East Phillips Urban Farm project, said it was “disheartening” that the city suppressed the document.

It “puts into question transparency in this city,” he said. “If we are missing information at this level, it makes me wonder where else it exists?”

“It invites the question: Who is really steering this Hiawatha Expansion Project?”

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Momentum is building for truth telling and healing around the cultural genocide that took place in Indian Boarding Schools and the trauma that continues today

First in a two-part series.

The Minnesota Council of Churches (MCC) is moving into a decade-long commitment to truth telling, education, and repair with Native American and African communities. Those communities suffered deeply from America’s original sins: Slavery and Native American genocide. Those sins have never been fully acknowledged or addressed, let alone healed or repaired.

Christine Diindissi McCleave, CEO of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, gave one of two keynote addresses at MCC’s inaugural event, “Minnesota’s Racial Legacy: Finally Telling the Truth,” Sept. 24-25 at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis.

McCleave (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) put the work ahead in stark terms: “Why don’t we tell the truth about genocide in this country?” she asked. “Because people have things they will lose. It’s tied to Empire and control and money and land.”

At the same time, there’s a tremendous amount of healing that can happen and actions that could put this nation and its religious institutions on a more solid moral foundation.

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Events: Rally on Minneapolis charter amendment, march to honor boarding school survivors and victims, and more

In this blog:

  • #LetThePeopleVote Rally for Democracy, Friday, Sept. 17
  • Boarding School Survivor and Victim Memorial March, Friday, Sept. 24
  • MN Council of Church’s first ‘truth telling’ event on the state’s racial legacy, Sept. 24-25
  • 2021 Overcoming Racism Conference set for Nov. 12-13 online
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Registration open for MN Council of Churches’ truth-telling event; Walker to unveil new sculpture by Native artist, Line 3 updates

In this blog:

  • Registration now open for MN Council of Church’s first ‘truth telling’ event Sept. 24-25
  • Walker to install sculpture by Native artist where ‘Scaffold’ once stood
  • New report: Indigenous resistance is disrupting climate damage
  • More than 60 water protectors arrested outside Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s Residence
  • LaDuke, Hauska register complaints with U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights
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MN Council of Church’s inaugural ‘truth telling’ event is Sept. 24-25, first step in reparations work

Last fall, the Minnesota Council of Churches announced a multi-year effort at truth telling, education, and repair with both African American and Native American communities.

“With partners, this work will include naming and addressing the unjust and ongoing systems and structures that “have made Minnesota rank as a state with some of the highest racial disparities in the nation,” it said.

The first truth telling event will be held Friday evening and Saturday morning, Sept. 24-25 at Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicolette Ave., Minneapolis.

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East Phillips Urban Farm plan stays alive, barely

City Council action is as murky as its commitment to racial justice

The Minneapolis City Council was faced challenging truths today as it deliberated on redevelopment of the old Roof Top Depot site at 28th and Hiawatha: addressing historic and ongoing racism costs money, it means changing “business as usual,” and it’s messy.

The Council faced two different proposals: One to use the Roof Top Depot site to expand and consolidate the city’s Water Works facilities, the other to give the East Phillips Neighborhood Institute (EPNI) exclusive rights to develop the property into an urban farm, affordable housing, and neighborhood-friendly businesses.

The fractured Council punted, keeping both options open, likely making no one happy. Significantly, it voted down proposed language to give EPNI exclusive development rights for its Urban Farm proposal.

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