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BY REV. ABBY MOHAUPT

February 11, 2020


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The irony of destroying indigenous land to keep out immigrants
"Native American burial grounds threatened by blasts for border wall construction, Arizona congressman says" - via CNN

Grijalva said the blasting occurred last week in an area known as Monument Hill, a place where he said Apache warriors who battled with the O'odham were laid to rest.

Grijalva said officials appear to be fast-tracking wall construction to score political points rather than heeding serious requests from Tohono O'odham leaders.

"It's a political agenda, without worrying about consequences that could happen in terms of these sacred sites," he said.
“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, 'You shall not murder'; and 'whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.'

But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, 'You fool,' you will be liable to the hell of fire.

So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you,

leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.

Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison.

Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.” - Matthew 5:21-26
I live and work on the ancient hunting and living grounds of the K'itsash peoples, in what is now northeast Texas. I have no right to this land except through the removal and genocide of those peoples, like most indigenous peoples across this continent. My family is not native to what is now the continental United States. My ancestors came from Ireland, Sweden, Finland, and Germany (some without invitation/papers), making me the mix of European blood that means I live and move and have my being within a lifetime of white privilege. My ancestors who came from Ireland crossed the ocean because to stay during the potato famine would have meant starving to death.
 
In my name, the United States is building a wall along the Mexico/US border to keep new immigrants out. Some if not most of those immigrants are refugees fleeing situations in which, if they stayed, they would die. 
 
That wall is being built by an administration that has no respect for the lives of vulnerable peoples, and so the burial grounds of the Tohono O'odham Nation are being destroyed, without respect for the indigenous peoples who have been systemically persecuted. This administration builds this wall from a self-righteous belief that the land now belongs to one particular nation, and that that land cannot be shared.
 
But they are fools. 
 
In my name, the current presidential administration seeks to support a racist narrative and system that ignores the debt owed to indigenous peoples. 
 
We will never be the nation we hope to be until we repent of our sins against indigenous peoples. We will never be our best selves until we repair the atrocities our nation's ancestors unleashed. We will not be free of the hypocrisy of building a wall against refugees until we stop pouring salt on the wounds that we insisted on inflicting on the people who are indigenous to this land we insist on defending.
 
And we are fools if we remain ignorant in this face of this work, and we will burn if we stay silent in the face of the desecration of the burial grounds of the Tohono O'odham peoples. 
 
God be our help in our foolishness. 
Do you know whose land you live and work on? Find out here, and then explore how you can work toward reparation and reconciliation with those peoples. 
God, we pray for courage as we go to make amends with other people. May we be bold and meek to do so before we come before you with our confession. And God, may we hold our administration accountable for the atrocities it continues to commit. In the name of all who seek refuge and mourn the loss of their homelands we pray - amen.
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