In her book, Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God, author Kaitlin B. Curtice, challenges white supremacy in the church. Raised in a Southern Baptist church in Oklahoma, the author speaks largely to the American population; however, the lessons contained within are also widely applicable to the Canadian church. Curtice entices the reader to accompany her as she traces her journey from that of a colonized worship leader to relocating her identity as the Potawatomi woman she was created to be.
Curtice encourages First Nations groups to reclaim their language, traditions, and customs to honor Creator in their own way. While pointing out it is not the job of Indigenous people to educate non-Indigenous people on Indigenous issues, she acknowledges many Indigenous people teach others because it is important work and so do it without fee. She notes that the work is so important we should be paid for the many ways we take the time to educate others on these issues. The church needs to be honest about the way it treats marginalized populations or else colonization and abuse will continue into the future. To do this, we need to stop hiding behind dogma and theology and see the other as fellow humans.
Native offers practical guidance on how to make the church more inviting to First Nations populations. Curtice challenges the church to break down the racism, colonization, and abuse that has been historically enacted in the name of God. She points out the church has used a white-washed version of Christianity to force assimilation, stolen land, and allowed genocide that was committed against Indigenous people. She encourages the descendants of oppressors to make amends for the oppressive actions of their ancestors, stating that by doing this, “we are calling out the systems that created hate.” Understanding how and why these systems were created will help us name our trauma and find the wound, so it can be healed.
Native might come across as in-your-face honesty, but this book is a must read for anyone seeking to be a better neighbor to the First Nations people of North America. Just brace yourself for the ride. (Brazos)
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