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Decolonizing Faith Communities

Group of clergy members standing together in front of a church podium and smiling

Since 2015, we have facilitated an ongoing project focused on Decolonizing Faith that is co-led by religious leaders and Wabanaki people. The project goal is to create learning experiences for faith communities to help them understand the impact of the harms done to Indigenous people by colonization and create a more just future through commitments and actions consistent with the pure intention of their faith tradition.

Colonization establishes a system that paves the way for a privileged group to take control of a territory for the purposes of gaining wealth. Colonization views land, water, animals, and humans as resources and seeks to take control of them for the short-term benefit of this privileged group. Decolonization is the contradiction to this way of thinking and being through kindness, generosity, reciprocity, and a lack of control.

Decolonization and the Role of Faith Communities

During this program, presented in three 90-minute segments, people of faith explore the role of churches in the colonization of this country, learn about the harmful impacts of colonization on Wabanaki people, and identify strategies for repair, justice, and healing. Prior participation in Interacting with Wabanaki-Maine History is required for this program. 

This program includes a more in-depth focus on the role of churches in our shared history, and how your faith community can be involved in change and healing. Sessions are engaging and interactive and include film, testimony, discussion, and an action/study plan for follow-up after the sessions. We ask that your faith community have a point person or small task force for coordinating publicity, enrollment, and follow-up study.

Video and Print Resources for Reflection, Meditation, and Prayer

In 2015, the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission concluded its investigation and issued its report and findings about the experiences of Native people in the Maine child welfare system. 

We call on people and communities of faith to pause in gratitude for all who told their stories, for the Commission and its staff who gathered them with care, and for people across this territory who honor their stories by committing themselves to learning and promoting change. 

On February 12, 2013, as part of the ceremony to seat the Commission, Rev. Dr. Robert Grove-Markwood, then President of Bangor Theological Seminary offered a prayer which was revised by N. White and P. Phillips-Doyle in 2020 so that it honors and celebrates the work that has been done since that ceremony. Five year Celebration of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The same prayer was recorded by the five Commissioners and two REACH co-founders.

Maggie Edmondson, pastor of Winthrop Center Friends (Quaker) Church shares another prayer that individuals or faith communities may lift up during the pandemic and anytime on the journey of truth, healing, and change.  Decolonizing Faith during the Pandemic 

This Prayer by Rabbi Erica Asch of Temple Beth El in Augusta was offered on Friday, June 12, 2020 on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of Commission’s report.

We are producing recorded music, prayer, and reflections that guide our work to decolonize and restore our world.

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