We’ve added 98 new subscribers to our email. We enjoyed meeting them, and many of our members and supporters at the MCUSA convention. It was a pleasure to be part of the intersectional justice booth. More on our time in Kansas and what the coalition has been up to in this newsletter.
In this issue:
DDoD Coalition annual report
Sarah Augustine reports from French Guyana
Play 1st Nations of Catan
DDoD in the News
Up coming events
How to get involved
DDoD Coalition annual report
In July members of the Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Coalition met at Peace Mennonite Church in Lawrence Kansas. We worshiped together, heard stories of the indigenous Kanza people from local historians, shared the work we have done over the past year, and strategized for the future. You can read the full annual report of the coalition on our website! Here are some highlights:
Workshops on the Doctrine of Discovery were developed and accepted for Kansas City 2019. In addition, the Coalition is organizing joint booth space for a variety of justice organizations that work within the church.
Sarah Augustine is co-developing a program on the Doctrine of Discovery with Mennonite Women USA and is also working on a book proposal for Herald Press.
The Doctrine of Discovery was this year’s theme for a group of AMBS professors (including Coalition members) who did research on a theology of reparations, how to integrate dismantling work into the AMBS curriculum and how to read the Exodus story other than simply that of conquest.
Shalom Mennonite Fellowship has put an ongoing financial restitution to Indigenous people into their budget as a result of Coalition’s educational work.
Looking to the future: To advance our work, we are now seeking partners to help us staff a position for one of our founders, Sarah Augustine. Sarah will be able to devote her time to responding to congregations who are ready to hear the message and join the movement.
Members of the coalition at the July 2019 gathering
Sarah Augustine Reports from French Guyana
I am writing from French Guyana, or Guyane as it is called by folks here. I have worked in this region on Northern South America with Indigenous Peoples since 2004. Guyane is still a territory of France.
The Doctrine of Discovery is evident in the stories I hear from my colleagues, Indigenous women struggling for self-determination for their people. As she gave us a tour of Norino, a Kalin’a village, my friend Milca Sommer-Simonet explained that the people who live in this community are not permitted by the government to build “permanent dwellings.” She explained that although they live on traditional Kalin’a homeland, they can only use cement cinder blocks to build a portion of their homes, while the majority of materials must be easily removable. The implication is that the people of this community can be removed from their land at any time.
My friend S, also a Kalin’a woman, shared with me that she was recently removed from her job for “communitsic activities.” She worked in a church-based program to provide community services to indigenous youth attending residential schools in the capitol city, Cayenne. Indigenous youth who wish to attend school beyond grade 5 must move to the capital, since public education is not provided in rainforest communities. Indigenous young people often flounder in residential schools, and experience high incidence as victims of abuse and suicide. S. provided the youth she served group-centered services that gave them a sense of community. However, her government-funded job was cut, she was told, because the program she shaped to engage youth using culturally-relevant practices was not focused on assimilation through individualism.
Milca and S., along with a coalition of others called Illupawa, have created a pilot program to bring public education to interior rainforest communitites. Milca, a teacher, is trained in the Montessori-method and aims to bring culturally appropriate, experiential education to rainforst communities in their own language and from their own point of view. Milca’s hope is that education from pre-school through 12th grade can be provided by local practitioners. This is true self-determination, where education is provided by community educators for their own people.
If you would like to learn more about Milca, Illupawa, and their work, email Sarah Augustine: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Game Lovers!
We enjoyed teaching an alternative version of Settlers of Catan at our booth at Mennonite Convention.
Called First Nations of Catan, the game was designed by Greg Loring-Albright when he became uncomfortable playing Settlers of Catan, a game that, “is complicit in continuing to make indigenous communities invisible.”
The game uses the same basic board and pieces, but adds a player, representing the first nations with a different goal. Find out more about Greg’s reasons for the game, and the rules here.
You can Download a pdf we created of the rules here.
If you do play it please send a reply email with feedback. Did you learn anything? Was it fun?
DDoD in the News
Members of the Doctrine of Discovery Coalitions have been making headlines. Here are some articles either written by DDoD members, or about the coalitions work.
In God speaks Potawatomi Lynda Hollinger-Janzen shares of her experience walking the Potawatomi Trail of Death.
Katarina Friesen, a member of the Coalition writes about the need to change colonial perspectives in the Church in her article Sacred stones: Perspectives shape practice for The Mennonite‘s May 2019 issue “God Loved the Whole World.”
In the same issue Coalition member Luke Gascho reflected on environmentalism and land justice in his piece Tillingsoil on stolen land.
A unique training opportunity for individuals to explore and engage with the legacy of colonialism and understand the intersecting history between Native people and European settlers. This training will use the framework of the Doctrine of Discovery to explore the taking of land from Indigenous people, which led to the justification of the global slave trade. Participants will be equipped with a number of educational tools which they can utilize to further educate others on the Doctrine of Discovery. Led by Michelle Armster, Erica Littlewolf, and Karin Kaufman Wall from MCC Central States, the training is open to all who are interested in the ongoing work of education and awareness-raising on these issues. It will be held August 25-27 with the Sunday evening public event, Loss of Turtle Island, at Waterford Mennonite and the following two days of training at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. The registration fee is $50. For more information and registration, visit mcc.org/gl-dod
Join us in the homelands of the Tulalip Tribes as we come together from all over Turtle Island for a national discussion on boarding school truth, healing, and justice.
Topics to be covered:
-Truth in History—the facts about U.S. Indian Boarding Schools
-Oral Histories—sharing our stories and honoring our memories
-Impacts—understanding and confronting intergenerational trauma
-Healing—transcending the pain and honoring our Indigenous life ways
We hope to see boarding school survivors and descendants, youth, tribal leaders, and anyone working on understanding and addressing the impacts of Indian boarding schools at the conference in Tulalip this fall!
If you know of events that you think the Coalition would be interested reply to this email to let us know about them!
How to get involved
Reply to this email and let us know how we can connect and support you! Here are some suggestions.
I am interested in joining the coalition by being active in one of the committees throughout the year and joining the yearly face-to-face working gathering. See our list of committees here.
I will organize my people! (e.g. follow and share the coalition’s initiative, organize an event, study or worship series, take steps to right relations and restitution to Indigenous people, host a showing of our documentary, respond to calls for action…)