Winter Talk: Episcopalians Share Stories of Pain, Healing, Faith
Photo: Jeremy Tackett (Episcopal News Service)
[Chronicle, January 26, 2023] The Episcopal Church's Office of Indigenous Ministries held their annual Winter Talk Conference in Green Bay Wisconsin, January 21-23, 2023. Winter Talk is an "annual multi-day conference that honors and highlights Indigenous and Native American traditions and contributions within the church." (https://www.episcopalchurch.org/ministries/indigenous-ministries/winter-talk/)
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and House of Deputies President Julia Ayala Harris were in attendance "to listen." From the Diocese of Hawai'i, Roth Puahala, the Junior Warden and Verger of The Cathedral of St. Andrew, was also there and shares his experience and take-away further below. About 50 people gathered for the three-day event, but folks could participate virtually online. Recordings of each day's events can be viewed HERE, and an excellent article about the conference from the Episcopal News Service can be read HERE.
The following photos and reflection are by Roth Puahala:
[This] was the first Winter Talk I attended, and know other members in our Diocese who have attended in the past. It was a very emotional weekend for me hearing actual stories about the Boarding schools and even how Episcopal churches on the continent may have been involved. The question was asked how do you deal with families of victims? What do you say to them?
We had a long discussion on the dismantling of the doctrine of discovery and how we address this among our indigenous people. Remember it was 130 years ago that Lili'uokalani, by the grace of God, Queen of the Hawaiian Islands, was overthrown, and this started the loss of our identity as Hawaiians. Those who mālama the land carry everything, our lineage, our culture, and our language with them. My grandparents were no longer allowed to speak Hawaiian in their homes and in public. All things Hawaiian were forbidden, a Hawaiian school did not teach its culture, heritage, language, and its arts for a long period of time. It was not until the early 70s that the Hawaiian community experienced a cultural renaissance. The growing interest in the Hawaiian language, music, traditional navigation and voyaging, and the hula sparked new pride amongst Hawaiians. Cultural awareness spawned political activism seeking greater autonomy and sovereignty, protection of traditional native gathering rights, and ending the bombing of Kaho'olawe island for military training purposes.
We must continue to mālama our ʻāina, with actions from our religious brothers/sisters in our communities - like the Red Hill Fuel tanks, address the Kaho'olawe Island Reserve, the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act and its $600 million appropriation, the renewal of 23,000 acres of military leases on Hawai'i Island and the actions or non-actions of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
We need to get involved, write resolutions for action, create bills for action, and most importantly, tell our story. If you have the time, please tell your story.
Sybil Nishioka, Editor Note: Roth Puahala is in top group photo, back row, eighth from the left.