ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton has issued a statement on Indigenous Peoples Day, Oct. 12. “We join states, cities and towns across the country to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day in place of Columbus Day and honor the people whose lands we walk, whose Indigenous voices have always been spoken here and who share their gifts and contributions throughout our society,” the statement read, in part.
“Today there are nearly 5,000 American Indian and Alaska Native members of the ELCA and 30 ELCA congregations in American Indian and Alaska Native communities,” the statement continued. “Alaska Native congregations occupy some of the oldest Lutheran places of worship.”
In 2016, the ELCA took steps to repudiate what Eaton called “one of the most fundamental bases for colonialism,” the “Doctrine of Discovery.” But the repudiation alone “will not suffice,” she said. “As a church, we must sustain our efforts to educate ourselves and the wider community on the consequences of the Doctrine of Discovery on Native peoples.”