As I worship the Great Creator today, I’m praying for the Indigenous Peoples of the great Turtle Island (North America) who are being united now by the Great Spirit as they continue to struggle against the unjust and oppressive colonization of their ancestral domains by the United States of America. I highly respect the IPs of Turtle Island for choosing prayerful, spiritually energized, active non-violent approach in their centuries-long struggle.
My spirit joins my fellow Mennonites who went to Standing Rock to stand with the peoples of the Turtle Island in defending their sacred land and water. It was my fellow Mennonites who introduced me to the concept of the Doctrine of Discovery as a European Christian’s “violent history of land grabbing and genocide that was justified by patriotism and religion. This same theology formed an international legal structure that continues to dispossess Indigenous Peoples of their land.” Along with my Mennonite global community, I’m asking myself, as both a victim (Malay people colonized by Spain) and a beneficiary (Canadian citizen): “What does it mean to be a peacemaker today in a world where the present is defined by the violence of the past?”
We are also experiencing the same unjust and oppressive presence of the USA in our beautiful islands (which the colonizers named after the Spanish king, Philip; thus, Philippines). I identify with the suffering of the original peoples of Turtle Island. The Americans killed hundreds of thousands of my people too.
And now, our islands are still being exploited and militarized by USA to protect their masters — the greedy corporations who destroy our land through mining. We have been sold out by our oligarch politicians to the USA through onerous foreign policy–specifically by signing the manipulative, war-mongering deals such as the Enhanced Defense Cooperative Agreement (EDCA) and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
My supplication before the Creator is that, our people and our government would be awakened from our colonial mindset and set ourselves free from American manipulative presence — through their war-oriented religion, through their militarized relief and development activities, and through their political-economic manipulations. I pray that our people and our government would be courageous enough to scrap the Enhanced Defense Cooperative Agreement (EDCA) and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the USA. May our people finally liberate ourselves and our land from the exploitative and imperialist presence of the US in these rich and beautiful islands.
And likewise, may the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island finally liberate themselves from the colonial oppression of the USA starting with the current united, multi-tribal protection of their sacred land and water at the Standing Rock. The Great Spirit empowers the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island! The Lord of History is on the side of the Indigenous Peoples of Mother Earth!
Stand with Standing Rock:
A STATEMENT FROM THE MENNONITE DOCTRINE OF DISCOVERY COALITION
Written by Anita Amstutz
As Mennonites, many who have been a people of the land, we understand the gift of creation and see the powers arrayed against our community’s clean air, water and soil today. We call upon all people of all faiths to take a stand, speak out, and walk with those who are who “standing in the way” of the ongoing desecration of the earth and her peoples.
Today, Indigenous people are the ones leading us in nonviolent action and prayer, calling us all to protect the sacred trust of water. The Standing Rock Sioux Nation (Oceti Sakowin) of North Dakota have chosen to reclaim their sacred burial sites and ancestral homeland next to the Missouri River. It was given to them in the U.S. Treaty of 1851, but revoked by our state and federal governments. A private corporation is seeking to construct an oil pipeline on this land without an agreement from the Standing Rock Nation. The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) would carry billions of gallons of oil from the North Dakota Bakken oil fields through farmlands, run under the Missouri river in two places, and would cross rural communities and sensitive water and wildlife habitat. It is the Standing Rock Sioux’s and many rural communities’ only source of water. As the Standing Rock Nation has reminded all of us, water is a sacred trust: Mni Wiconi or “Water is life.”
The pipeline is a violation of sovereign rights, human rights and the rights of nature. As Christians, we know that right livelihood requires care for people and God’s creation first and foremost. To this end, we call upon all our leaders and the people of Jesus’ way to stand with land-based people in this struggle happening now for land and water sovereignty and human rights through practices of prayer, presence and offerings toward public defense:
Congregational prayer: Invite your congregations to surround and encompass the people holding nonviolent peaceful vigil at Standing Rock on the front lines every Sunday between now and Thanksgiving. We need “spiritual warriors” who can surround the people there in Divine love and light.Fast for a day: Invite friends and your community to a day of prayer and fasting on November 4, a day of action when 100 gathered clergy will hold a peaceful vigil with the people at Standing Rock. It is also a day of policy advocacy by a Mennonite faith-based delegation to Washington D.C. on behalf of the Miskitu people, whose lands are threatened in Nicaragua, and the Wayana people of Suriname.
Peaceful witness: If you are interested in being part of a Mennonite faith-based delegation to Standing Rock, please fill out this form at the Doctrine of Discovery Coalition’s website.There is also a clergy witnessorganized by the Episcopalian Church of North Dakota at Standing Rock on November 4.
III. Public defense funds
Funds are needed for the legal defense of nonviolent protestors who have been arrested and incarcerated. Support them here.