God in Many Faces
It’s been a year since one of the most significant events in modern Native American history took place — the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s protest against building the 1,200-mile-long Dakota Access Pipeline that would run near the reservation, threatening the tribe’s water supply and sacred sites. The tribe estimates 17,000 “Water Protectors” from around the world passed through the Sacred Stone Camp from April 2016 to February 2017, including United Methodists who came to show support and witness something they say will never happen again in their lifetimes. Throughout the protests, The United Methodist Church alongside the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference (OIMC) of the UMC provided food, water, tents, shade, winter coats, toiletries, and grooming items, and sent multiple teams to support the efforts onsite. “When Native American leaders called for religious leaders to come to Standing Rock, we showed up,” said the Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe, general secretary of the General Board of Church and Society, who visited Standing Rock. She said the denomination’s 2012 commitment made during the Act of Repentance to Indigenous Peoples service at General Conference requires an ongoing relationship with Native peoples. “Repentance is not a one-time thing,” Henry-Crowe explained. “We must continue to do the work to repair broken relationships and restore wholeness.” The tribe continues to battle against the pipeline through the courts even today. The OIMC has continued to work with Standing Rock on a number of issues including suicide prevention. The United Methodist Committee on Relief has also been involved in supporting food relief and support for Native people suffering from recent floods in North Dakota and South Dakota. (From the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference) ➢ May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, commemorating the contributions and celebrating the culture of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. ➢ May 2nd is Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, memorializing the six million Jews who perished along with many others in the Nazi Holocaust. ➢ May 6th – June 4th is Ramadan, observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting. ➢ May 21st is World Day for Cultural Diversity, recognizing cultural diversity as a source of innovation, exchange, and creativity, as well as the obligation to create a more peaceful and equitable society based on mutual respect.