Oh, where to begin with this message. The
need to speak these words has
been burning in my heart for some years, but I donít know how to say
without sounding apologetic, condescending or patronizing. I do not
sound that way and perhaps the way to avoid sounding that way is not
my message at all, but, selfishly, I must. So here goes:
I am a
white woman of European ancestry from the time of the earliest
settlers (early 1600ís on my motherís side, 1900ís on my fatherís
So, my motherís ancestors were some of the first men and women who
on a quest for more of whatever they thought they needed and took all
they could from the Native People.
didnít understand the enormity of what these People lost
(school just doesnít do this job well at all) until after I read the
book Hanta Yo by Ruth Bebe Hill.
In the years
following, I heard a
lot of controversy surrounding this book, how it didnít depict the
Native Peopleís spirituality accurately, or their way of life, or
anything at all the way it should have been depicted.
That may be
true and I am obviously not one to say yea or nay to those
opinions, but I can say that reading this book opened something in me
Ė something so enormous that it would influence me to turn away from a
lifetimeís worth of Christian religion and step onto a path that leads
me very far from all I ever knew.
So, whatís my point,
It is this:
While I do not feel it is appropriate for me to apologize for
something that happened during some other lifetime, my heart breaks,
truly breaks, for what has been and continues to be lost.
now see with clear eyes what happened to the Native People of
this land. I see that something elemental and powerful was stolen from
them. The way of life they had evolved for tens of thousands of years,
their culture, the very fabric of their being, the beliefs that held
them up and sustained them, were stolen and destroyed.
I now see with
clear eyes that this did not happen only in the past, only
here; I now see with clear eyes that this happens today everywhere
around the world.
I also see with clear eyes
that some of what the Native People here and in
other parts of the world have lost is being slowly, painfully,
I cheer for
these efforts Ė I long to be a part of them. But I am a white
woman filled with misinformation and stereotypes so I sit on the
sidelines, learning, waiting, watching - hoping to find a way to
In the meantime,
I will tell anyone who thinks otherwise that many beautiful truths
exist; that no truth is better or truer than another.
People must realize
that their way is not the only way, or the only life, or the only
truth and I will tell them that, for the sake of all thatís been lost.
Thank you for listening.