Jen Hatmaker apologizes for the road within the opening prayer criticized as Native American obliteration

(RNS) – Jen Hatmaker was “proud” to offer the final prayer in the liturgy for the first interfaith prayer service on Thursday, January 21, hosted virtually by the Washington National Cathedral.

The popular Christian writer, speaker, and podcaster has also apologized for this – at least for the first line of the prayer that began: “Almighty God, you gave us this good land as our inheritance.”

CONNECTED: At the opening prayer a message of renewal and “repairing the hurt”

“He didn’t do it. He didn’t give us this land. We conquered this country with violence and trauma, ”she later wrote on social media.

“It was not an innocent divine transaction in which God gave colonizers an empty continent. This is a brilliant version of our actual story. If God gave this land to anyone, it was the local community that always lived here. “

Hatmaker apologized to Native Americans in the statement posted on Instagram and Facebook.

She said in her post that the prayer “was written by the organizers to serve as an anchor”. It appears to be an updated version of the prayer for our land in the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer, which begins by addressing God as “God Almighty who gave us this good land for our inheritance.”

Prayer wasn’t the only Indian misstep that activists pointed out during the week’s opening activities.

Some expressed disappointment. Native Americans were not recognized during President Joe Biden’s swearing-in ceremony Wednesday. Mark Charles, a citizen of the Navajo nation and former pastor and independent presidential candidate, offered his own recognition on Twitter.

“Since no one on the Capitol steps bothered to mention it, I’ll do it. # inaguration2021 by President #JoeBiden & Vice President #KamalaHarris takes place in Piscataway. I acknowledge their continued presence in these countries and thank them for their management, ”Charles tweeted.

Others raised issues with “This Land Is Your Land,” one of three songs performed during the dedication. The song doesn’t mention that the land was once a Native American land.

Instead of “This land was made for you and me”, the Christian author and spokeswoman for Potawatomi, Kaitlin Curtice, tweeted a suggestion: “This land was … created by Mother Earth, tended by indigenous peoples, and later stolen by settlers. ”

And popular Muslim-American social media personality and civil rights activist “StanceGrounded” tweeted a TikTok video of a young woman singing the song with rewritten lyrics: “This land is homeland … this land was stolen from our people” and lists regions from the land and the tribes that are home to them.

While not prominently included in Biden’s swearing-in ceremony, Indians performed during the week’s opening activities.

President Jonathan Nez and First Lady Phefelia Nez of the Navajo Nation offered prayers during Thursday’s prayer service.

The day before, the Native American Women Warriors Association was represented at the Parade of Nations. TikTok star Nathan “DoggFace” Apodaca, who is Northern Arapaho; a Hawaiian chant; and several traditional dancers, according to Indian Country Today. And Biden’s candidate for Home Secretary, US Representative Deb Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, was depicted when he was sworn in wearing a ribbon skirt, which is spiritually meaningful and is often worn during ceremonies.

CONNECTED: Churches are giving land back to indigenous groups as part of the #LandBack movement

“It is important to me that we reckon with our history of white supremacy and the lies we have surrounded it, and I regret that I have offered another blurry, extraordinary rendition of the original history of colonization,” wrote Hatmaker.

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