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Indigenous Curiosity

Dear Kaleid Ladies,


On Monday of this week, you likely knew that your time off (if you had it!) was thanks to one of those complicated American holidays--an overlay of Columbus Day and Indigenous People’s Day.


How is it that in America we have such a crazy ability to simultaneously name and ignore our complicated past? When we do briefly gaze into our rearview mirror, it tends to be with an eye toward finding the heroes. We are acculturated to locate (and to be) the moral victor. If we can’t easily find one, we create one. It’s a thing we do.


And so today’s email involves a simple question.


When “Indigenous People’s Day” is named, what comes up in you?


What thoughts arise? What emotions? What connection?


Some of you treasure the Native American DNA that is a part of your own body. Some of you recall when Columbus Day stood alone; there was a simple hero to celebrate. Some of you have learned to celebrate the people who were here when Columbus arrived, even without a holiday. Some of you think about what our indigenous neighbors lost, and it makes you angry and sad. Some of you believe that you can’t change what’s past, so it’s best not to linger there.


Today, we invite ourselves, with our various feelings and reactions, to honor our complicated American history by adopting a posture of curiosity. Not shame, not self-righteousness, not avoidance, but simple curiosity.


Curiosity can lead to connection. It can lead to grace and to humility. It can lead to truth...and freedom.


It’s so hard to look at corporate pain, especially when that pain was inflicted partly in the name of God. But as we curiously enter in, we will most assuredly discover Jesus there, suffering with those who suffer and weeping with those who weep.


What are you curious about when you consider Indigenous People’s Day?


Here are a few resources to further your exploration.

  • A podcast from Amy Julia Becker with Kaitlin Curtis, a Christian Potawatomi woman and author of Native.

  • Some resources and books from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.

  • A poem of lament from Randy Woodley, an Cherokee, an author, and a professor at George Fox University.

  • A novel by the award-winning author Louse Erdrich.

Or, simply let yourself become curious about the fall beauty that springs from this poem by Joy Harjo, the first Native American poet laureate.

Fall Song

It is a dark fall day.

The earth is slightly damp with rain.

I hear a jay.

The cry is blue.

I have found you in the story again.

Is there another word for ‘‘divine’’?

I need a song that will keep sky open in my mind.

If I think behind me, I might break.

If I think forward, I lose now.

Forever will be a day like this

Strung perfectly on the necklace of days.

Slightly overcast

Yellow leaves

Your jacket hanging in the hallway

Next to mine.

We hope you have a good week, friends!


Gratefully,


The Kaleid Team


P.S. As we close this email, you may be asking why? “Why is it with Kaleid that I am never quite sure if I’ll be soothed or stirred up when I open the email?” “Why does being a ‘Kaleid woman’ involve contemplation one week and agitation the next?” Thanks for asking. It’s because when we honestly see ourselves, others, and our context, in light of what’s real, we see all kinds of things. We see God’s love more deeply. We see others’ pain more poignantly. We see our context more vividly. We see ourselves more humbly. Seeing leads us deeper into the quiet, holy places of healing love and it leads us further into the messy, raucous places of healing love. To be a woman who wants to follow Jesus means entering into the human realities of life in all of their beauty and pain, because he went there first. And because those are all the places we still find him as we linger and as we look. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate you!



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