Mission Update
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Yakama Christian Mission
Advocating in Favor of the North American Landscape and Her Indigenous People


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F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K

Mission Update


Well over 300 clergy folk are arriving at Standing Rock today.  Their pilgrimage has come about by request from local clergy.  The two-day visit matters in two ways.  One is that the landscape of Standing Rock needs prayers and presence for healing.  Two is the impending death of landscape needs seeing so one knows the word death is not an over exaggeration.

 Grasping the impending death of the Standing Rock landscape is important to our children’s children because it is reflective of what is happening in our home landscapes.  This conversation must grasp the injustice of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is not located in environmental racism, though that is certainly part of it, but rather this injustice is in the lap of the much broader lying term of Ecoracism.

Eco is that which gives us the words of ecology, economy, and ecumenism.  In other words, eco has a broadness that is not located in one space.  Eco comes from the ancient Greek word of oikos.  Oikos minimally refers to house, but its greater understanding is that of the inhabited house.  The Hebrew word bayit stands alongside that of oikos referring to house as well, but goes beyond the inhabited house to the house that includes the ancients and descendants as well.  Bayit gives itself to the Hebrew word of household, beth.  Of which comes Beth-lehem, the house of bread, and Beth-el, the house of God.  The pictogram of bet , the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet (from which comes beth), is the sign of creation.   speaks of Creation being the house of which the Creator constructed.  As such, , bet, beth, and oikos lend to an understanding that eco is the house which includes all of Creation.

Considering Eco as the household of Creation allows for an understanding that the work and prayers of Standing Rock is not a protest of environmental racism.  Environmental racism is a human centric concept that speaks to a discrimination of a people who have no choice but to live alongside or within an unsafe or lethal environment.  If this were the case at Standing Rock, then the message from Standing Rock would be that those who are in harms way, those who may die, because of DAPL are the people of Standing Rock.  This is not the case.

Rather, the landscape of Standing Rock is the fullness of the house of Creation.  This landscape includes the people and the soil, water, wind, plants, and animals.  The prayers of Standing Rock are to recognize Creations eco-household.

The work of DAPL is ecoracism where government and business has placed value on the human centric construct of profit and what serves a few humans—fuel in this case—at a cost to both human and non-human creation.  Rather than a human centric, environmental racism thrust, the prayers of Standing Rock recognize the hurt of water should a leak occurs, and the immediate damage to the soil through dozing and construction, the hurt of earth through drilling, fracking, and extraction of petroleum, and the damage to the wind in the burning of that petroleum.

As 300 clergy join the thousands who have journeyed to support the Standing Rock Sioux over the preceding months, we can lend our prayers to the landscape of Standing Rock as well.  For the health of Standing Rock is the health of Creation and as such, the health of our children’s children who are yet to be born.

Be well, Dave
Minister for Indigenous Peoples Concerns
Yakama Christian Mission

Spring and Summer Worktrips

During the summer Yakama Christian Mission offers week-long Learning and Serving opportunities that we call SAGE Quest. 

Sage is a rather common word on the reservation sage steppe while the word Quest is not.  However, they work well together.  Sage speaks to the wise, perceptive, or clearheaded.  Quest is pilgrimage where uncertainty and risk are bounded by sacred.

Pilgrimage, Phil Cousineau notes, “is an ancient tradition of the transformative journey to a sacred place.”  Sage and quest come together to speak to the artful experience of seeking wisdom. 

The “serving” component of the weeklong experience is to have folk engage in hands on work that will directly engage injustice felt on the reservation.  This work is specific to the needs that have arisen in the last year, so the work changes from year to year.  As of early fall 2016, it appears work of 2017 will center on building a greenhouse, planting two-acres of vegetables, weeding, harvesting, and delivering vegetables to three reservation foodbanks and the reservation homeless shelter.  Additional work may be with Yakama Nation wildlife, working on elderly homes and property, and enhancing the White Swan community park.

The “learning” component typically engages issues of injustice found on the reservation or “off”-reservation justice issues that affect the landscape of the reservation.  Over the course of the week, the issues often engaged are: Economic injustice, Racial injustice, Cultural injustice, Ecology injustice.

Spring and Summer opportunities often fill during the fall season.  If your group might be interested in visiting the reservation in the spring of summer of 2017, please contact us!  You can find more information at 2017 Learning and Serving.

Garden to Foodbank Update

The first heavy frost has come and gone.  The last vegetables harvested.  This summer over 1300 pounds of produce went to three reservation foodbanks and homeless shelter!  Now is time for a simple thank you!  I want to thank each of you who helped financially, who helped plant, and who help harvest and deliver the produce!  We could not have done it without you!  Additionally, a special thanks to our grantors who made this happen, Disciples Home Missions, Between the Ridges, JustLiving Farm, and Ideal Lumber.

With winter quickly coming, we will evaluate the Garden to Foodbank project and ask questions on how we can do better next spring, summer, and fall!  We look forward to your help and your prayers as we discern our next steps!

Peace, Dave

Standing Rock Pilgrimage

The prayerful protest at Standing Rock continues.  What is going on at Standing Rock is not your normal protest.  Rather, this movement asks questions of relationship between Creation, Spirit, and God.  When considered as a whole, the work at Standing Rock addresses the foundational question of EcoRacism, are humans called into an intimate relationship with Creation?  A significant question.

The need for prayerful support to end the spiritual damage of the landscape is constant.  Support is all the more meaningful when the prayer stands in the damaged landscape.  Many have journeyed to Standing Rock to pray with their kin for the healing of Creation.  Yet, there is little doubt that onsite support will wane in the cold months of winter.  When the landscape huddles and braces for the cold, a visit from kin will help the landscape’s boldness and bearing, even if the visit is for but a moment.

While we all prayerfully hope there will be no need and life is well in the Standing Rock landscape this winter, Yakama Mission invites the wholeness of your being to Standing Rock January 4-6 should the local folk of Standing Rock continue to request our presence.  We are organizing around this date because it is in the season of Christ and it is during the winter break of most schools.  The giving of Christ this Christmas might be twofold.  One, your presence in the Standing Rock landscape allows a place and her people to know they are not alone in the depth of winter.  Second, in a season too often known for capitalism and consumerism, a pilgrimage with you children and grandchildren will allow them to experience a moment—not unlike the march across the Selma Pettus Bridge in 1965—that they will never forget (and will certainly have an impact on their lives that they could never get from Mickey).

If you are interested in gathering and giving your prayerful support to your kinfolk of the Dakota landscape this Christmas, contact the Mission—  If you cannot make it, but would like to financially support others to make the pilgrimage, please donate to the mission with a Standing Rock designation.  Together, in the days when breath becomes like fog and words wander toward the heavens, people will gather to care for Creation.

Upcoming Events

Doctrine of Discovery Presentation & Conversation on 2017 Resolution of Repudiation:  First Christian Church of Puyallup, Puyallup , WA, November 3
Indigenous Agriculture: Crimes of Incompetence and Bias:  Bird Library, Syracuse University  Syracuse, NY, 5:00pm, November 15
Native American Discipleship Conference-UMC: Milwaukee, WI, November 17-19
Bazaars At Cultural Heritage Center: Toppenish, Yakama Nation, December 4, 11, 18
Disciples Standing at Standing Rock: Cannon Ball, ND, January 4-6
Winter Talk 2017: Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, TX, January 30-Feburary 1, 2017
Providing information and helping Disciples and People of Faith to learn and advocate for Indigenous Justice in the United States and Canada.

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