We at Bethany Community church acknowledge that we gather today on the ancestral lands of the Duwamish People of Seattle (Dxʷdəwʔabš “people of the inside” ), a people who are still here. We express our respect and gratitude for our indigenous siblings, and their Elders, and for their past, present, and future care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
Bethany's Partnership with the Duwamish Tribe
In 2016, at Bethany's 100-year anniversary, we as a church, examined our beginnings and realized our historical connection with the Duwamish Tribe. We later began to engage in a more intentional conversation around race and justice and were challenged by the prophetic voice of SPU professor, Dr. Salter-McNeil, to do more. Using her book Roadmap to Reconciliation as a guide, Pastor Phil and several lay leaders made it a priority to seek reconciliation and a relationship with the Duwamish People. Bethany Community Church is excited to partner with the Duwamish today.
“Bethany began about 1900 as an Indian Mission.” One short sentence is all we have in our records that hint at what Bethany’s beginnings were all about. We have no idea how many people banded together for this endeavor, who they were, or what they did. We do know that at least some of these people stayed together in fellowship as they went through several changes that finally led them to become Bethany Baptist Church in 1916. [From “Bethany History”, 1983]
We confess that as an organization, while well-meaning and a product of our time and culture, we were directly a part of the process of stripping the Duwamish of their culture in an attempt to westernize them. We further recognize our current church site sits on land that is the traditional territory of the Duwamish Tribe. As Seattleites, we have benefited from the injustices done to the Duwamish and we as a church have been silent in the past. We confess we have not stood against the oppression, injustice, and racism against our Native American brothers and sisters. We grieve this wrong. We purpose to stand with the Duwamish and no longer be silent. We want to stand against the current systems that perpetuate racial injustice. We want to listen to and learn from the Duwamish. We want a chance to build relationships and trust. We want to serve them in practical ways.
For more information on the Duwamish People, visit duwamishtribe.org and www.standwiththeduwamish.org
To get involved, email: Pastor Phil.
DUWAMISH PRAYER WALK
Join us in prayer for our neighbors, the Duwamish Tribe, by downloading this Intercessory prayer guide. Take it on a walk with you around the Duwamish Longhouse and Ha-ah-poos Park, or pray as you walk around your neighborhood.
Duwamish Prayer Guide