Indigenous People’s Day 2020

Welcome morning. This is the sky’s greeting for us this day. Two of my turkey vulture friends just flew over. The colors of the leaves are glorious.

Today is Indigenous People’s Day. I’m looking forward to seeing friends and attending the celebration in Des Moines. Information about that here: https://jeffkisling.com/2020/10/07/indigenous-peoples-day-des-moines/

Join a coalition of organizations in Des Moines on October 12th from 4-7 (South Lawn of the Capitol Building) to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day! However, as we celebrate this day we also recognize that columbus day has not yet been abolished in Iowa and is simultaneously celebrated and taught in the public school system. Furthermore, monuments to white supremacy litter the landscape of Iowa and we demand that they be removed.

WE DEMAND:
THAT COLUMBUS DAY BE ABOLISHED IN IOWA!
THAT THE COLUMBUS STATUE BE REMOVED AT THE IOWA STATE CAPITOL!

Organizers will present Iowa legislators with a petition that will kick off at the event demanding that all racist, misogynistic, homo/transphobic, whitewashed historical depictions be removed from all state grounds and facilities. On the South Lawn, there is a Christopher Columbus Monument that was celebrated in 1938 by five thousand people who showed up for the dedication of the statue on Columbus Day.

Indigenous People’s Day, Des Moines, 2020


My first personal connections with Native Americans began about five years ago in Indianapolis, when we worked together to bring attention to the dangers of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL), to protect the water. I closely followed the amazing gatherings, prayers and actions of those at Standing Rock.

Since then I have been praying for, and led to numerous ways to continue connections with, build friendships with, Native people. I was blessed to join the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March, September 1 – 8, 2018. We walked and camped along the route of the Dakota Access pipeline, from Des Moines to Fort Dodge, Iowa. Some of the most powerful spiritual experiences I’ve ever had were the times we stopped for prayers, every time we walked over the pipeline. There are many writings, photos and videos of that March here: https://firstnationfarmer.com/


I recently tried to express what I’ve been learning and feeling about my role in all of this as a White settler colonist. https://jeffkisling.com/2020/10/08/a-white-settler-colonist-and-indigenous-peoples-day/ I believe it is important for those of us who are White, and living on native lands, to state that we are, here and now, colonizers. Until we do, we will not have the perspective needed to understand how we can begin to heal the damage our ancestors did. And we continue to do, both to native peoples, ourselves, and Mother Earth.

Decolonization requires both education and healing. Attending events such as Indigenous People’s Day are opportunities for education. These events can also contribute to healing as we White people show up for support. We can contact our Iowa legislators to support the petition that will kick off the event in Des Moines today, demanding that all racist, misogynistic, homo/transphobic, whitewashed historical depictions be removed from all state grounds and facilities.

Another educational resource is this link to a PowerPoint presentation I created, Native and non-native peoples. And as mentioned above, there is a lot of writing and photos and videos related to the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March. Other sources are Decolonizing Quakers, and Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples.

Following is a depiction of what I’ve been learning. I hope many of us will take this opportunity today to find ways to learn and to begin to heal.


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