Day 30: After Native American Heritage Month

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A friend of mine said that she wants to get rid of all these themed months that are meant to celebrate people of color or indigenous people. I totally get it, and the point is that we should be celebrated everyday, right?

Still, people like themes. They like to have something they can pay attention to, something that can catch their attention. The problem with our crazy, high-paced, scroll-through-your-social-media-feed society is that things are here one minute and gone the next. It’s hard to get anyone to¬†really pay attention.

But I’m asking you to.

I’m asking you to recognize that tomorrow, on December 1st, it’s still Native American Heritage Month. It’s still a time to celebrate and illuminate and pay attention to issues that indigenous peoples deal with everyday in this world and in this country.

I’m Potawatomi, and I’m still learning. I’m indigenous, and I’m still trying to understand things, still trying to stretch myself to make sense of it all. And so I’m asking that you leave room to grow, too.

We see people stretching to understand parts of our nation’s history that is often buried. That’s progress.

But there is also a world of people who are ignorant of the issues of indigenous peoples. There is a world of people who don’t understand that we are different tribes, different peoples, different individuals. So we still have a lot of work to do, and that work cannot just be done by Native Americans.

It has to be done by everyone.

So as Native American Heritage Month ends, I leave you with an open invitation.

Ask questions.

Be curious.

Challenge colonial America.

Challenge the American church’s inclusivity.

And may we move forward together into a better future for indigenous peoples.

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