What is required of faith communities to decolonize?
One of REACH’s projects, Decolonizing Faith, is co-led by religious leaders and Wabanaki people. This program creates learning experiences for faith communities to understand the harms done to Indigenous people by the colonization of this country, recognize the lasting impact on native people today, 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
This program is intended for people of faith and is presented in three 90-minute Zoom segments. We explore the role of churches in the colonization of this country; learn about the harmful ongoing impacts of colonization on the Wabanaki; and identify strategies for repair, justice, and healing.
This workshop requires that members of your faith community first participate in Maine-Wabanaki REACH's Interacting with Wabanaki-Maine History, where participants engage in an interactive story telling experience of events over 450 years of history.
Decolonization and the Role of Faith Communities follows with 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 from 1 to 1 1/2 hours long, and are ideally scheduled once a week for three weeks. They 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.
- Waking up to difficult truths about the past and present that have generally been kept hidden from us by the dominant culture.
- Dealing with our feelings of grief and anger in response to centuries of genocide and white domination.
- Recognizing our social location within this process, and how we may have benefited or suffered from colonization.
- Becoming accountable for our participation in what has happened and is happening, and choosing to resist further oppressive harm, and act in support of Indigenous self-determination, healing and empowerment.
- Opening our hearts to transformation, while abiding in love and compassion.
For more information and scheduling contact here at our Contact Us Web Page
Other Resources for Communities of Faith
The Decolonizing Faith project has also developed a few video and print resources for faith communities for use in worship. You can find them here: Video and Print Resources for Reflection, Meditation, and Prayer
I’m grateful to all the people who share what they have to bring these programs here,
I don’t even know who they are, but I thank them when I pray”
— Wabanaki person