On December 19, 2012 I had the privilege of hosting a Public Reading of the Apology to Native Peoples of the United States in front of the US Capitol in Washington DC. This apology was buried in H.R. 3326, the 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act. It was signed by President Obama on Dec. 19, 2009 but was never announced, publicized or read publically by either the White House or the 111th Congress.
It was an honor to stand in front of our Nation's Capitol, with a diverse group of citizens, and communicate the "Apology to Native Peoples of the United States" to our elders, to Native communities and, to all US citizens throughout the United States. I am DEEPLY grateful to everyone to supported and encouraged this event and especially to those who were able to attend and stand with me in person. Ahe'hee.
- Public Reading of the US Apology to Native Peoples (November 17, 2012)
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View photos from the Public Reading of the Apology to Native Peoples of the United States on my Wirelesshogan blog
Summary of DC19Apology Event:
On December 19, 2012 we are hosting a public reading of the 2010 Department of Defense appropriations bill (H.R. 3326). Page 45 of this 67 page bill contains an apology to Native Americans on behalf of the citizens of the Unites States. This apology has never been clearly communicated to the nearly 5 million Native American citizens of this country!
Our mission is to invite our nation's citizens and leaders, as well as members of the global community, to gather at the US Capitol on December 19, 2012 and join our efforts to communicate as publically, as humbly and as respectfully as possible the contents of H.R. 3326 (and the apology enclosed therein) to the Native American tribes, communities and citizens of the United States of America.
It is our hope that this event will establish safe and honest common ground where a national conversation for reconciliation between our country and Native America can begin.
Not just Americans, but the entire globe.
People know that the founders didn't mean it then, nor does this nation of immigrants mean it now. Sure the words were written down, and they like to frequently point to them as evidence that we are good. But no one really meant them. They were merely a means to an end.
Back in 1776 when representatives from a bunch of colonies wrote the words "We declare these truth to be self-evident that all men are created equal." They did not literally mean ALL men.
But people know that.
When we sing "My country tis of thee." Who is "Thee?"
It's God, right?
As a nation. As Christians. We believe that the United States of America exists because of God's blessing.
Why do we believe that God willed, sanctioned, even led 500 years of discovery, colonization, genocide, slavery, boarding schools, broken treaties, sexism, segregation and nuclear warfare?
It's because of some Papal Bulls that were written in the 15th century known as the doctrine of discovery.
The other day I observed a Twitter exchange between Pope Francis and Miroslav Volf.
Pope Francis (@Pontifex) Tweeted:“God does not reveal himself in strength or power, but in the weakness and fragility of a newborn babe.”
To which Miroslav Volf (@MiroslavVolf) replied:“@Pontifex How true! And yet the babe grew and taught with power and authority, and the crucified one was raised from the dead in glory.”
Since moving to the Navajo reservation more than a decade ago I have done much thinking, studying, praying and reflecting on the dynamics between power and authority. And God has given me a few insights over the years. So when I read these tweets I had an instant desire to jump in and be a part of the discussion.
Last week I was on a conference call with some colleagues from a Christian organization that I partner with. We were discussing an educational project we are working on regarding the long history of injustice against Native Americans by the United States government and the Christian church. During the discussion it became clear that some conversations needed to be facilitated with some native leaders in the area where I live on the Navajo reservation and then a face to face meeting would be necessary with other members of our team. I offered both to facilitate these conversations as well as to fly to the city where our face to face meetings would be held. The organization offered to cover the cost of my airline ticket, but asked, with some trepidation, if they would also be responsible to compensate me for my time as a consultant. I quickly assured them that I normally do not charge for work on projects such as these.
View Speech - YouTube
Mark challenges the Rehoboth Christian School graduates of 2014 to bring the intentional and respectful diversity that they experienced as a class of Native, Hispanic and White American students in high school into the college, university and work settings they will be entering in the future.
Conversations from the Hogan
A conversation with Kenneth Wallace regarding his journey to contextualize worship to Jesus and the Creator as an African-American, Choctaw and Pawnee man.
A Conversation for Reconciliation
Blog posts about Navajo Culture and Language
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