Monday, August 07, 2023

Native Non-Duality

Well, this piece at Comment ("Return to Bad River") inspired some vigorous reactions. Instead of casting myself as the decolonizing anti-racist hero, I tried to tell the truth, a truth that mandated me looking more than a bit ridiculous, and which cast the Ojibwe as the heroes, which they certainly were on the occasions of our visits, and which  I tried to relate in the piece they have been in much of the history of Wisconsin as well.

But it turns out that, for some at least, if you even mention Christianity, you are assumed to be a colonizer, and a racist one at that. (Nevermind that the faith has long been embraced by the Ojibwe themselves.) One might even go so far as to call the assumption that Christianity and Indigenous identity are to remain separate (despite all the evidence suggesting otherwise, over and over again) to be "dualistic." But so be it. The church has made enough mistakes that it may be the job of her representatives to suffer such anger today.

It's a good reminder that the space between the church and the powwow grounds (depicted below), is fraught. But this is all the more reason to traverse it when invited (as we were), however ridiculous we may look as we do.