This year, the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey is honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Oct. 10 with prayers, liturgies, and other forms of commemoration.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day honors the past, present, and futures of native peoples. The holiday recognizes the legacy and violent impact of settler colonialism on native communities, and it also celebrates the cultures, contributions, resistance, and resilience of contemporary native peoples.
In 2021, the Diocese of New Jersey overwhelmingly passed a resolution, proposed by the Racial Justice Project at Trinity Church in Asbury Park, to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is now an official holiday to be celebrated by the whole Diocese of New Jersey on the second Monday of October annually.
This year the Diocese of New Jersey wants to provide each parish with some tools to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day together. Most of New Jersey is known to be on Lenape territory and is called Lenapehoking. On Indigenous Peoples’ Day we celebrate the Lenape People and their culture in the past and in the present, and as a church we repent for supporting the system of settler colonialism by the use of genocide, land theft, and slavery towards the Lenape People and other Indigenous people. We also commit to seeking relationship with the current Lenape Nation and to support their struggle for self-determination for all of our Lenape siblings that are still in New Jersey or scattered around the country.
We encourage all congregations in the diocese to use an Indigenous Peoples’ Day Liturgy on or around October 10. Click here to see an appropriate liturgy developed by the Diocese of Arizona.
We also encourage you to look at the Episcopal Church’s Office of Indigenous Ministries, which celebrates the longstanding presence and influence of Native Americans throughout the history of The Episcopal Church. Exercising a deep spirituality grounded in respect for and care of creation and others, Indigenous Episcopalians enrich the church through myriad roles in lay and ordained ministry, modeling wisdom, resilience, and forbearance.
Finally, we encourage you to read the Institute for Cultural Survival’s “11 Things to Do on Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” Some of these things the article recommends include:
- Learn whose land you are on.
- Attend a local or virtual Indigenous Peoples’ Day event.
- Donate to Indigenous-led organizations.
Thank you for your work and time. We pray that you have a blessed Indigenous Peoples’ Day!
Image credit: User: Nikater, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons