The Eastern PA Conference Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) submitted a resolution asking the 2020 Annual Conference to call upon churches to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day annually in October in place of the traditional Columbus Day as an act of justice and respect for indigenous Americans. That resolution must be delayed until 2021, since the streamlined Annual Conference session in October will only address resolutions mandated by the UMC Book of Discipline and essential to the business of the conference.
But CONAM is nonetheless making its own appeal to churches to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day on Sunday, Oct. 11, in lieu of Columbus Day on Oct. 12. The substitution is recommended to commemorate the lives, cultures and histories of indigenous people who were tragic victims of Christopher Columbus and other European explorers who brought massive deaths and destruction to the Americas that they claimed to “discover” and went on to conquer and colonize.
CONAM offers a recommended worship liturgy for the Indigenous Peoples Day celebration. “CONAM offers this liturgy, developed by the Episcopal Church in 2016, as a template that churches are free to adapt to their individual needs,” said Sherry Wack, CONAM co-chairwoman.