Photo: Navajo prayer delivered by sailor Fireman Apprentice Andrea Barney aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry Truman while in the Persian Gulf in 2004. Two US Navy Carrier groups have come to Israel's aid in the 2023 conflict, most likely with many Indigenous sailors aboard.
What side should BIPOC (Black and Indigenous People of Color) take on the Gaza-Israel conflict?
This is a religious war, to be sure, and we Indigenous folks have had our share of colonizers taking our land, our freedom, and our lives, in the names of their version of the Creator.
So where do we stand in the Israeli-Palestinian war? Some of us have family connections to both sides of the equation. The Honorable Louis Farrakhan, spiritual head of the Nation of Islam, has been married for decades to Mother Khadijah Farrakhan who is of Native descent. I also know families of Jewish-Native marriages.
Many Indigenous communities are avid attendees of Christian churches. The nazi oppression of German Jews was inspired by U.S. laws against Black/ Indigenous people in Virginia.
Large-scale war will surely involve Native soldiers, even those who reject all three of the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Islam and Christianity).
In short, we BIPOC are all over the map on this issue, before we even form individual opinions. And perhaps that is our greatest strength on the issue—our multiple connections can balance each other out, giving us time to pause, think, talk, and pray before endorsing the next round of mass murder.
Our Indigenous spiritual belief systems do not require the conversion of the whole world, nor the deaths of all who disagree with us. Those ideas came to the Americas from overseas.
And yet, now we live with those ideas all around us, and are sometimes intimately connected with Abrahamic communities, their belief systems and political agendas.
Maybe we can serve as an example for better behavior.
STOP THE HATE