JUNE 11, 2021 The Native American International Caucus of The United Methodist Church released a letter to The UMC Bishops which outlined some of the history of boarding schools in general and the Historic Methodism's involvement. Articles about the importance of knowing this history, it's impact on lives today, and The United Methodist Church's call to this work are outlined below. We will continue to post new information as it is forthcoming.
NYTimes Article reignited a Call to Action.
Ian Austen of Ottowa, reported in the NY Times on June 7, 2021 about the grave of 215 Indigenous children that had been found on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School in May 2021. This led to a call once again for an investigation about the role of Methodist Boarding schools in the lives of Native Americans and their legacy of trauma upon Indigenous Peoples. Read the full article entitled "How Thousands of Indigenous Children Vanished in Canada" Here.
The legacy of these schools lives on in the lives of our members.
Read about it in this article from Kae Wilbert, Cherokee and Marilyn Anderson, Seneca from the Upper New York CONAM, "Being a Methodist as a Native American" first published March 23, 2021.
In an article entitled "Our Brother in Red" Ginny Underwood describes ways in which churches and leaders of The Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference have been unduly influenced by assimilation tactics from the boarding school era.
The Ongoing Act of Repentance Speaks to our Boarding School History:
Excerpted from the NAIC Call to Action Letter:
The 2012 General Conference of the United Methodist Church called the Church to a journey of repentance, condemning the acts of violence, seizure of land and abuse of the human rights of Indigenous peoples.
For more information see "GC2012: Starting Along the Path of Repentance" by Kathy L. Gilbert and Linda Bloom.
In 2016 the Resolution, the “General Conference of The United Methodist Church affirms the sacredness of American Indian people, their languages, cultures, and gifts to the church and the world.” This resolution recognizes the common experience of Native families that “to assimilate our peoples into mainstream cultures, many of our ancestors as children were forcibly removed to boarding schools, often operated by religious institutions, including historical Methodism. The Doctrine of Discovery facilitated a climate of hostility and genocide. Native peoples were targets by those seeking land and other natural resources.”
FOr more information can be found in our Social Principles first presented in 2016 as Resolution #3321 "Native People and The United Methodist Church."
With God’s grace and guidance, the NORTHEASTERN JURISDICTION NATIVE AMERICAN MINISTRIES COMMITTEE will serve as the body that gathers to listen to and support fellow Native United Methodists, partners with all Native Peoples, educates non-Natives, and advocates for Native issues with our strong Native communities in the Northeastern Jurisdiction and beyond.