We honor the distinctive in each of our communities by making room to hold one another experiences. Listening to one another’s’ stories as BIPOC communities does not cost us anything, and we find a way forward together in solidarity. We must ask questions of one another and interrogate the assumption that as BIPOC folks we experience the same responses to a shared event. The inauguration this week exposed the need for nuance as we think about being a diverse community. Many native leaders in the church expressed experiencing erasure.

Scholars have described ‘indigenous erasure’ as “settler societies discounting and eliminating the presence of American Indian peoples, cultures, and polities. This erasure is part of a larger colonial imperative to diminish the existence of American Indians in order to access land and resources.” **

Our Native siblings are with us and they have a story to tell. What a gift to enter into the story of Siouxsan Robinson (Blackfoot/Lakota), and her 15 years old daughter Nanaiya Robinson of The Red Road. This was originally posted on Instagram @siouxsanrobinson and when i saw it that day I knew it has to be shared. The world needs to know that there are Amanda Gormans in our BIPOC communities waiting to share their truth. I was waiting for the perfect time – which is now. “My 15 year old daughter was asked to write a poem for her class about manifest destiny and colonialism. She chose to write about Indian Boarding Schools because of the many stories she heard from her grandma and other relative’s experience.” @siouxsanrobinson

My Stolen Childhood
I sat confused in the back of the truck,
Wondering why I had to go,
Each minute that went by I saw less and less of my home,
Farther, Farther, gone,
I’ve always been at my mother’s side,
Now I’ve been taken and I don’t know why,
My tears dropping to the floor,
My hair falling to the ground, that hadn’t been cut up until that day,
Piece by piece, my culture being stripped away,
They gave me a number and took away my name,
But Nanaiya means ‘peace’ and inside that would remain,
They taught me their language and took away mine,
I was praying to the Creator asking why this wasn’t a crime,
Surrounded by hundreds of children who look just like me,
I’m not sure how I could be by so many children and feel so lonely,
Days turned to weeks, weeks to years,
My childhood vanished, just like my tears.

Written by Nanaiya Robinson

** American Indian erasure and the logic of elimination, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Volume 45, 2019

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