Since the beginning of antiracism work at St John’s we have been especially concerned with our history as a predominately white congregation in northwestern Chicago. How might have previous generations at St John’s unjustly taken advantage of their privileged status? We immediately learned that St John’s was gifted with ownership of land that had been forcibly and unjustly taken from indigenous people living in the Chicago area.
Accordingly, we developed a land acknowledgement plaque affirming that the church’s land was previously home to many different Native Americans. The plague has been installed in the front walkway on Kostner Avenue. The plaque dedication, however, was not able to happen due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Our revised plan is to present a series of virtual events from now through the dedication event some time in 2021. Some of the possible opportunities which need your leadership and support include the following:
- Update the St John website to include resources and links about Native American people
- Support the development of Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Chicago
- Organize installation of art by a Native American artist or artists in the church garden
- Plan and facilitate education and cultural events for adults and for children
- Sponsor one session of Sacred Ground, a film-based dialogue series on race and faith developed by the Episcopal Church. Session 3 is “Whose Land? Exploring Indigenous History”
- Develop other ways to include Native American perspectives during our regular worship services
- Promote, participate in, and help fund public events sponsored by Native American organizations
- Identify and invite indigenous leaders to speak at St John’s
- With guidance from indigenous people design the plaque dedication event (2021)
To assist with the Sacred Ground events, please contact Andria Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org