Native American/American Indian

Review: Dancing in God’s Earthquake: The Coming Transformation of Religion by Arthur Ocean Waskow and Ladder to the Light: An Indigenous Elder’s Meditations on Hope and Courage by Steven Charleston

[1] In March of 2020 the United States government responded to the existence of the coronavirus in our midst with a call to shut everything down for two weeks.  The worst of it would then pass over us, and we could resume our normal lives once more. [2] It didn’t work out that way. [3] […]

Review: Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery by Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah

[1] In 2016, the ELCA Churchwide Assembly overwhelmingly passed a “Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery.” [1] Yet in the intervening years I have noticed that most people I come across have no idea what the Doctrine of Discovery is, or how it affects not only the lives of Native Americans, but also the lives […]

Editor’s Introduction: Understanding the Doctrine of Discovery

Everybody knows that in the late 15th century Christopher Columbus arrived at what is now known as the Americas and that he proceeded to take possession of such lands on behalf of the Spanish crown. What is not widely known, however, are the legal and theological rationale with which Europeans justified the often violent (at times genocidal) conquest and colonization of these lands which had already been “discovered” and populated. By the time the Spanish and English peoples arrived at Turtle Island and Avia Yala (the original names of these lands) Native American nations and empires had already been in place for thousands of years. (The current scientific consensus is that First Peoples began arriving some 14000 years ago.) So, what logic led the new arrivals to think that they had the right to take away the land from these nations?

The Doctrine of christian Discovery: Lutherans and the Language of Empire

Tinker provides an incredibly valuable history of the ways in which the doctrine of discovery was used during the colonization of what is now the United States. Though today this mindset is reinforced through U.S. culture, Tinker examines how part of its major impact has come from how it was used in government to “legally” allow native land to be stolen. As Christians, it is even more important for us to note the role that Christianity played in the process.

A Reflection on the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly’s Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery

In 2016 the ELCA publicly repudiated the “doctrine of discovery”–the idea that Europeans “discovered” the Americas, when in fact they stole it from peoples who had discovered it thousands of years earlier. Blackfox reflects on what the ELCA has committed itself to do and the fruitful possibilities that could come from such actions, while also questioning if it will happen.

Living in the Shadow of Empire: A Theological Reflection in Conversation with Indigenous Experience

Indian Residential Schools are a sinful part of Canada’s history that were facilitated and hidden by Empire. Bishop MacDonald explores the history of the schools as well as the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Reflecting on the context of Scripture, he uses the concepts of idolatry, systemic evil, and Empire to explore the role of Christians during the schools’ existence while calling on Christians today to examine their roles in relation to Empire. ​

Vulnerability, Security, Empire, and Confronting Racism: Inspirations from the 2016 Lutheran Ethicists Gathering

Raye helpfully recaps the Lutheran Ethicists’ Gathering presentations–including Bishop MacDonald’s call to name and resist corporate evil through repentance and the establishing of right relationships. Raye also summarizes Dr. Sylvia Keesmaat’s analysis on Paul’s letters to the Romans as a useful model of how Empire is named and resisted in Scripture. The article asks its readers, “What is God calling those Christians benefiting from the empire of the United States to do? How can truth and reconciliation be reached?”​

Nuclear Power, ANWR, and Global Warming

[1] Three specific problems in the Bush administration’s policies warrant further analysis: 1) the renewed commitment to nuclear energy, 2) the exploration for oil in ANWR, and 3) the administration’s dismissal of global warming. The renewed commitment to nuclear energy is highly risky, even if, as the administration claims, technological advances have made an already […]