This week we remember we live on the original, unceded lands of the Osage people, humans who knew every creek and hill of this area as a tapestry of homeland.
We can see visual reminders yet today of some of this history.
You can walk the trail in South Fayetteville marked as the Trail of Tears.
The Cherokees who left their homelands voluntarily, years before the forced march, were assigned lands all over middle Arkansas.
Then, when the forced removal happened, those Cherokees who had already been settled in what is now Arkansas for years, were ALSO moved on into the Indian Territory that became Oklahoma.
This week, we give thanks for the gifts Native people have and continue to offer the world. We repudiate doctrines of our nation that have oppressed Native people, we repent, and work to repair and heal.
In a challenging day, we need the kind of spirit and prayers of Native people. So I lift this Ute prayer in remembrance this week.
Earth teach me stillness
as the grasses are stilled with light.
Earth teach me suffering
as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility
as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth Teach me caring
as the mother who secures her young.
Earth teach me courage
as the tree which stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation
as the ant which crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom
as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me resignation
as the leaves which die in the fall.
Earth teach me regeneration
as the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself
as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness
as dry fields weep in the rain.