An Invitation to the UUA Common Read: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
You are invited to join the reading and discussion of the 2019-2020 UUA Common Read, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. https://www.uua.org/books/read
The UUA website reminds us of the following: A common read invites participants to read and discuss the same book in a given period of time and can build community in our congregations and our movement by giving diverse people a shared experience, shared language, and a basis for deep, meaningful conversations.
The year 2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the much-mythologized encounter at Plymouth between colonists and those native to the land. The UUA General Assembly 2020, in Providence, RI, will speak to the truths that contradict the mythology...This Common Read invites UU congregations, communities, and individuals to learn the story of trauma and resilience that is the Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States.
In a recent online letter Rev. Meg Riley, senior minister of the UUA Church of the Larger Fellowship, writes the following about doing something that some deem “too hard”: “Facing history affirms that I am part of an interdependent humanity, that what affects any of us affects all of us. In King’s words, that Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. What we do, or don’t do, matters. Facing painful reality offers me the choice to locate myself on the side of love and justice. Denial puts me squarely on the sidelines.”
I found facing US history in An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States to be hard, a painful reality, a heartrending Trail of Tears. Many times, I had to put it aside, just had to walk away from it. I had to admit that I was ignorant of this history of my own country, and resentful of the lies my teachers told me and my textbooks taught. I learned that the land in Tucson to which I hold a deed and the land on which our UUCT sanctuary is built, are the traditional and stolen land of the Tohono O’odham people. (See the Native Land website: https://native-land.ca/ ).
When I finished our Common Read, Rev. Meg Riley’s words resonated with me: “I knew more profoundly the horrors which white people have unleashed on Black and brown bodies in my country.” And, “…I want to be held accountable for facing up to historical and contemporary horrors, despite the pain…I invite you to remind yourself that doing hard things helps to build resistance for doing other hard things.”
I invite you to take part in an activity that some may find “too hard” – face, and understand, our history. Please read the UUA Common Read and participate in discussing it in community.
Time frame: Read An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by February 29, 2020. Community conversations to follow.
“They (white people) are, in effect, still trapped in a history which they do not understand; and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it.” James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time