The High Holy Days are drawing close. The harvest is being gathered. The Year begins again.
We are a mixed Jewish and Native household. As such, we are keenly aware of the enormous harm done by racism. Acts of racism, and other kinds of violence, come in many forms. They may be verbal, visual, emotional, or physical. Their effects may reverberate for generations.
Today, sadly, I received an editorial about Cindy Jacobs, written by The Reverand Dan Vojir for OP Ed News. In it, he discussed comments Jacobs made on September 12. Her comments are now available on You Tube. Below, I quote liberally from Reverend Vojir’s editorial:
On September 12th, when people were ruminating on the weighty issues of security and economy, Cindy Jacobs obsessed on Native Americans and their heritage being a curse on America. Although she took her inspiration from Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, she didn’t bother to distill her rhetoric.
The Native American people were cannibals and they ate people. And so you can see a manifestation of that in the churches where people turned against people and kind of cannibalized other people’s ministries.
Now she has come to wage war against Native Americans and their heritage: according to her, a “curse” upon America was lifted because of Rick Perry’s “The Response.”
We just had a prayer meeting in Houston a little a week ago, the governor of Texas, really as an individual instigated this, and 35,000 people showed up to pray and it was only a prayer meeting called within three months, three month period of time. So what happened? The land is starting to rejoice, you see, because of that prayer.”
Taking a cue from Rod Parsley’s view on Islam (“America was establish to destroy Islam”), Jacob’s sentiments might be looked upon not only as a enabler to the future abolition of Native American heritage, but also a call to arms against all Native Americans who haven’t thoroughly converted to Christianity: it is, in effect, another strategy of “convert or die” apologetics.
Jacobs also borrows heavily from another famous anti-Native American: Bryan Fischer.
Many of the tribal reservations today remain mired in poverty and alcoholism because many native Americans continue to cling to the darkness of indigenous superstition instead of coming into the light of Christianity and assimilating into Christian culture.
Right Wing Watch also commented on Jacobs statement:
Fortunately, Jacobs maintains, Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s The Response prayer rally in Houston broke the curse and “the land is starting to rejoice, you see, because of that prayer.”
This concept of curses left by Native Americans has a large foothold in the New Apostolic Reformation, and today Bruce Wilson reported that NAR figures Chuck Pierce, John Benefiel, Tom Schlueter and Jay Swallow recently participated in an event in Teas that involved “smashing of Native American art objects” in order to “divorce and tear down the principalities of Baal, Asherah and Leviathan.” Like Benefiel and Swallow, Jacobs was an official endorser of The Response.
Native Americans were not, nor are we now, cannibals. Nor have Native Americans cursed the Nation. Native people are patriotic, even as we insist governments fulfill their treaty obligations to our people. We are overrepresented in the Armed Forces and have been throughout recent history, as Native warriors have repeatedly answered the call to defend the United Sates from aggression.
Yet anti-Native sentiments are on the rise in North America, as is hatred directed at other ethnic and social minorities. Some of the hate groups involved deny the Holocaust, others deny the Native American genocide. Frequently these groups cloak themselves in concern for families and religious practice, yet teach hatred and violence, revise history, and reject responsibility and reparation. They seem to care for only their own perceived needs, and will destroy others in order to meet those needs.
Such hate speech, in this case aimed at a tiny minority (Native Americans comprise only 1.5% of the population of the U.S.), does harm in many ways. One may think of it as bullying, meant to isolate and scapegoat a person or group. It retraumatizes by instilling fear, bringing up memories of prior assaults, and erasing histories of persecution and genocide. This is true for individuals raised in abusive families, and for nations and ethnic groups who were the targets of ethnic cleansing or genocide.
I discuss these clinical, social, and spiritual impacts in Part Two.