After four Sundays together in person, we will be taking a break from our front lawn gatherings. This Sunday, October 10th, I encourage everyone to attend our Zoom Sojourn Service with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick, Maryland. Rev. Carl Gregg will be speaking about Indigenous People’s Day- a holiday that celebrates and honors the histories and cultures of Native American peoples throughout the United States.
I first learned about this day in 2001, while living and working as an English teacher at Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. South Dakota was the first state to recognize the Second Monday in October as Indigenous People’s Day. Today 14 states and hundreds of cities are following in their footsteps.
Native American history and culture may feel far removed from the life of the city of Stamford, Connecticut. And yet, everywhere we go is native land. The history of Stamford- or Rippowam, as it was originally known- is like many places, marked by colonization and the forced removal of Indigenous people.
One of my first tasks in coming to serve the UUC in Stamford has been to learn the history of the place where we are located. I am encouraged to discover that others are making efforts to do this too. A recent Stamford Day event sought to create relationship between the residents of Stamford and the Ramapough Lenape, descendants of the original people of this land.
In this month of October we explore what it means to Cultivate Relationship. What might it look like to cultivate relationship with the land and its history? With the people whose ancestors were displaced? With a future that we might create together as kin?
I am hopeful that Sunday’s sojourn service might spark an ongoing conversation to be continued throughout this year.