The Common Good
January 2013

From the Archives: January 1991

by Carol Hampton | January 2013

A Dream of Justice.

A YOUNG MAN of American Indian heritage said to me: "Imagine growing up an American Indian halfbreed with the blood of Caddo, Choctaw, and Chickasaw tribes in you ... Imagine growing up ... knowing that you belong to a culture long native to this land before the white man 'discovered' it. Imagine trying to assert your identity when the majority of society affirms that 'Indians are a dead race.'" ...

With words of dismissal, the politicians wipe out the tribes' meaning and deface them of their honor. With words, they strip American Indians of race, culture, philosophy, reason. With words they cover the Indians with a gloss of alienation and meaninglessness, leaving them hollowed-out entities, repeating over and over the rules of a society that was never their own. ...

We have far to go down the good road toward racial justice. When our "friends" regard us as curiosities; comment on our clothes instead of our words and thoughts; interpret our ceremonials instead of accepting our religious knowledge; realize something lacking in their own spirituality and take and trivialize ours; and when they try to assimilate us into their culture by destroying our identity, thereby depriving us of opportunities to offer our gifts to church and society, then we wonder if we will ever realize our dream of racial justice.

Carol Hampton, a member of the Caddo Nation, was national field officer of the Native American Ministry of the Episcopal Church when this article appeared.

Image: Dream catcher, -Markus- / Shutterstock.com

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Resources

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)