A Week of Prayer and Action: September 30-October 6, 2022
Sponsored by the Native American International Caucus (NAIC)-United Methodist Church
CREATE AWARENESS by holding an event to remember those Tribal children who were taken from their families and placed in boarding schools. Particularly, we remember those who died while at the schools, and whose bodies were buried far from their homes. We remember that another death happened, a spiritual death, for many children who had their culture and spirituality taken from them.
SEPTEMBER 30 is the National Day of Remembrance for U.S. Indian Boarding Schools designated by boardingschoolhealing.org. The Boarding School Healing Project also designated October 6 as a Day of Remembrance since that day in 1879, was the day that General Richard Pratt took children from so many First Nations and opened the boarding school in Carlisle, PA. We recommend a week of Prayer and Action.
MAKE a PLAN for YOUR EVENT:
- Produce and distribute the “Justice for Our Children: Healing for Our Communities” 5×7 cards. You have permission from the Native American International Caucus-UMC and the artist to print and distribute. Feel free to be creative with the image by Paige McNatt. You can make t-shirts, posters, flags or whatever! You can use your local printer to make these.
- Choose a location such as your Church Conference Center, Government Capital building, a busy city corner, on a church lawn, a park. Choose somewhere that it is visible to the public. Be sure to check if you need a permit.
- Invite people who will stand in solidarity with you. Perhaps there is a Native American drum group or a singer and dancers who can be with you. Consider someone who can speak briefly on the purpose of the meeting. Invite a spiritual leader or pastor or a singer to say/sing a prayer
- Wear ORANGE. It’s a strong color to draw attention to the event and to us at the NAIC it symbolizes the sun as it sets and rises. We are praying that the sun has not completely set on this concern, but new hope comes as we remember and take action. You could make ribbon shirts/skirts.
- Collect children’s shoes or moccasins. The more tattered the better. Place a circle of shoes on the earth near your prayer station or on your church steps. Empty shoes represent children who never came home.
- Make little orange birds out of felt or paper to bring to the event. These can be hung on a tree or on a wooden stand or worn as pins. The birds represent the spirits of children as they take flight. Gather all the birds together and photograph them. (Please send photos of your gathering and of the birds to Ragghirain@gmail.com with permission for us to share these in future press releases and promotions of this cause).
- Bring all the birds to your worship so that everyone who gathers can have a special time of prayer.
- Invite the local news media to come to your event.
RESOURCES: Find the 5X7 card, Little Bird Pattern, and more on Facebook: Justice for our Children: Healing for our Communities (20+) Justice for Our Children.
WHAT TO DO NOW – PRAY AND TAKE ACTION
Begin collecting tattered children’s shoes and moccasins, orange clothing and making orange birds for your demonstration of prayer and solidarity.
Host a study at your church on Native American history
“Giving Our Hearts Away” by Rev. Dr. Thom White Wolf Fassett is an excellent resource. http://umwmissionresources.org/downloads/giving-our-hearts-away.pdf
“Kill the Indian, Save the Man” by Ward Churchill is an excellent in-depth historical account. https://www.commonword.ca/ResourceView/82/15650
“Education for Extinction” by David Wallace Adam is another good in-depth historical account. https://gread.mediadata.website/1033555-FILE.pdf
Host a Native History Learning Experience
Contact Suanne Ware-Diaz, “Toward Right Relationships” Friends Peace Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Review the U.S. Department of the Interior’s 2022 Report on Indian Boarding Schools: https://www.bia.gov/sites/default/files/dup/inline-files/bsi_investigative_report_may_2022_508.pdf
News article from Reuters documenting Secretary Haaland’s first visit with survivors https://www.reuters.com/world/us/native-american-boarding-school-survivors-tell-abuses-2022-07-09/