Multiply Justice

‘Ignorance gone to seed’ about the plight of Native Americans

Many Americans understand a bit about the history of African slavery in this country, but very few are even aware of the atrocities carried out against the Native peoples of North America during the same period of time and beyond — a genocide that lives on in the poverty and despair of crippled souls all over this country … out of sight, out of mind.

Richard Twiss, with his wife, Katherine, founded Wiconi International to bring shalom justice — abundant life — to Native American families and communities. Below is Richard’s most recent newsletter:

Richard & Katherine Twiss, co-founders of Wiconi International

Richard & Katherine Twiss, co-founders of Wiconi International

I cracked-up when the pastors wife said to the congregation in Phoenix after I spoke, “I’m just ignorance gone to seed.” She was expressing her dismay, after living here all her life, how little she knew of Native people and history. That was over a decade ago.

After 20 years of speaking across this land, it is the all-to-common response I hear as I tell our stories and share our challenges. As an educator and story-teller, through the work of Wiconi, I am committed to bring people into greater awareness and partnerships to walk together for the greater good in our Native communities and country at large. After 23 plus years, the frequent criticism and apathy from Christians can be frustrating. So, when I got this note from my friend Linnea, I was encouraged as we head into 2013 of  “doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with our God.”

Keep doing what you do… Believe it or not Richard, there are many in North America that have not heard the truth of the atrocities committed, promises broken with First Nations people, etc. Now that I’m aware I can scarcely believe that I NEVER knew. Please don’t grow weary with doing good, be patient as you tell the same stories over and oover. The scales are falling from our eyes and ears are opening. In my small way I am trying to tell others and I experience in an ever so small way, the frustration of closed ears, closed minds and racist comments that people don’t even realize they’re saying while others know what they’re saying and feel no shame. Thank you for still traveling to help people know the truth… You are loved my friend!

Your friendship and ongoing support of our work encourages me too. Thank you for your generosity last year and some of the kind words that you sent.

As Native people here, it seems ironic the amount of resources that fly over our heads on their way to the “utter most parts of the earth.” This too can be frustrating. Many of our communities suffer daily from immense social, economic, health and unjust political agendas. Our biggest problem, however, as Linnea articulated, is people just don’t know and we are thus, “out of sight and out of mind.” The Idle No More Movement is one I support as a way for Indigenous people to work for equality and justice.

As we remember Dr. King’s life as a prophetic voice inviting us to serve one another with a pure heart fervently, regardless of race, color or creed, I invite you to again consider opening your heart to remember the Host People of this land! Without us at the table, there can be no “Beloved Community” in the land.

Much peace and grace,
Our Wiconi Vision

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