[From Penny: My friend, Bryan Jackson is ordained in the American Baptist Churches USA, a registered Cherokee descendant, and active in the Cherokee Nation satellite community. When St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, my church home, invited The Honorable Cecile Hansen, Chair of the Duwamish Tribal Council, to speak at the cathedral, I asked Bryan to reflect on her presentation and join us as a guest contributor. Below is his post as part of this series of Lenten devotions.]
The other night I heard The Honorable Cecile Hansen, Chair of the Duwamish Tribal Council, remind us that she and her people are “still here.” This followed a land acknowledgement that kicked off a roughly hour-long forum at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle. Hansen is the great, great, grandniece of Chief Seattle (Duwamish/Suquamish).
The “People of the Inside,” the Duwamish, will tell you “We are still here” as they embark on seeking federal recognition as a tribe. Such a statement speaks to the theology and sacredness of the land itself. As most any Native American will tell you, the land is an extension of who we are. It epitomizes the account of Jotham telling the story of how the land vegetation chose the olive tree to be their king. (Judges 9: 7-15) Indigenous people partner with the land regardless of any governmental recognition or sanction. The land will lead us in spite of any nation-to-nation relationship.
O Great Spirit, help us to remind others: The land itself breathes it into us. We are still here!
Tue – Apr 5, Judges 9:7-15 1 John 2:18-28 Psalm 20