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OUR Greatest Generation: American Indian Boarding Schools
The EPAUMC Committee on Native American Ministries (CoNAM) will host its annual fall learning and fellowship event on Zoom, on Sunday, Nov 7, at 4 PM. November is annually National Native American Heritage Month.
The online gathering will explore the Carlisle Indian School story, remembering the first of many “Indian boarding schools” established in the U.S., some with the cooperation of Methodists and other religious denominations. Carlisle was born in 1879 in Pennsylvania’s heartland.
Indian boarding schools and their mostly painful legacy of child abuse and forced cultural indoctrination are now front-page news in Canada and the US. That still-damaging legacy is being examined more closely by the UMC and by the federal government. “What role did the Methodists and other churches play in this effort to assimilate and convert indigenous peoples?” CoNAM leaders ask. “Are we willing to accept responsibility for our complicity in the atrocities and move toward healing the trauma?”
CoNAM has been delving into and sharing that history and its lasting impact in recent events they have sponsored. The historical record and emerging voices in Native communities across the U.S. “provide a path for the church to reckon with its past by listening to these stories and joining the movement toward truth and healing. From Carlisle Indian School in PA to Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation” (Oglala Lakota Indian reservation in South Dakota), participants in the Nov. 7 program will hear voices that “will not let you forget your responsibility to listen and to act.”