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An unprecedented nation-wide trip, the Journey of Forgiveness, is coming to Mount Pleasant.
White Bison Incorporated, an American Indian non-profit, is travelling to 18 different states to visit 23 former Native American boarding school sites in 40 days to promote forgiveness and healing in the American Indian communities.
The Journey of Forgiveness in Mount Pleasant on June 17, is looking to heal locally.
Kateri Vergez, the program coordinator for White Bison Inc., said Mount Pleasant was chosen due to its location and school.
"We were looking at locations where schools were located and a central (location) so people all over the state can attend," she said.
The idea began in 2008, Vergez said, after elders instructed the group to go on the journey.
"Our last task through healing is to forgive the unforgivable," she said. "We want to bring awareness to the issue."
Shannon Martin, the director of the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture and Lifeways, 6650 E. Broadway St., said the history of American Indian boarding schools is rarely discussed in our culture.
"Awareness and dialogue surrounding this issue has been dormant," she said.
The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe is the primary site coordinator for the event, Martin said.
Journey For Forgiveness reaches final stop
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Filed Under: Education | National
The Wellbriety Journey for Forgiveness has arrived in Washington, D.C.
The 40-day, 6,800-mile journey began May 16 at the Chemawa Indian School in Oregon. Participants visited 24 current and former boarding schools in more than a dozen states to seek healing for abuses at the schools and an official government apology.
The event concludes today with a public program at the National Museum of the American Indian. The agenda follows:
9:00 am - Opening Ceremony, Hoop and staff, Opening Prayer by Horace Axtell, Eagle Spirit Drum from White Earth Nation
9:30 am - Welcoming Remarks - Dennis Zotigh
9:45 am - Don Coyhis, President of White Bison Inc
11:00 am - Keynote by Eduardo Duran
1:00 pm - Open Mic
2:00 pm - Forgiveness Ceremony
3:00 pm - Healing Ceremony
3:30 pm - Hand over petition (tentative)
4:00 pm - Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) (tenative)
4:10 pm - Closing Remarks by Don Coyhis
4:30 pm - Closing Ceremony
EDITORIAL: A Journey of Forgiveness
Published: Saturday, June 20, 2009
Imagine, for a moment, the unthinkable.
Imagine that some foreign power, through trickery and force, has conquered North America and set out to remake the place and the people in its own culture, religion and image.
The conquerors hold American culture in contempt. "The only good Christian is a dead Christian. The only good atheist is a dead atheist," often is repeated in the language of the conqueror.
There is resistance, of course, some passive, some armed. But it begins to fade quickly when the conquerors take away the children to re-education camps.
They call them "boarding schools." There, the children are given new names and forced to speak only the language of the conqueror. If they speak English, they are punished. If they pray to Jesus, they are derided as ignorant heathens - and beaten.
In other words, these hypothetical conquerors act in precisely the way the United States and Canadian governments did in living out Manifest Destiny in their march to force Native peoples to assimilate.
It's not a stretch to say these were grave sins by the conquering nations against the Native nations.
This week's Journey to Forgiveness strongly signaled that Native Americans are ready to forgive. Christian Scripture teaches that God is ready to forgive, but the sinner must repent and confess those sins.
The individuals who concocted the boarding school policies are long dead, as are most of the children who went to Indian schools such as the Mt. Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School. But the nations who carried out the policies, and the nations who suffered from them, are very much here today.
It's time for nations to tell the truth about themselves. It's time for the United States to own up to what it did - with the best of intentions - and ask for forgiveness. It's been offered. We as a nation should repent and accept the forgiveness.
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