Statement delivered by Jalisa Ross on May 9, 2012 to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Distinguished Chair, Your Excellencies, and Esteemed Colleagues:

My name is Jalisa Ross, from the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference of the United Methodist Church.

I thank you for this moment to share with you some of our work as The Methodist Church, but also to hold them accountable for their work around the Doctrine of Discovery.

The United Methodist Church is wholeheartedly supportive of the content and actions recommended in the Conference Room Paper on the Doctrine of Discovery presented to the 11th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issue by the Haudenosaunee the American Indian Law Alliance and the Indigenous Law Institute North America.   The United Methodist Church, in early May of 2012, at its quadrennial legislative event, called on all levels of the United Methodist Church to condemn the Doctrine of Discovery as a legal document and basis for the seizing of native lands and abuses of human rights of Indigenous Peoples. “ “Be it further resolved”, the resolution said, “that the United Methodist Church will work toward eliminating the Doctrine of Discovery as a means to subjugate Indigenous peoples of property and land.” In another resolution passed this week, the United Methodist Church resolved that it “begin a process of healing relationships with indigenous persons to continue throughout the quadrennium and beyond that, they ask that the actions of the church necessarily includes such activities as using study guides and resources; self-examination, discovering the ongoing impact of historic traumas; confessing our own participation in the continuing effects of that trauma; building relationships with indigenous persons wherever we, the church, are; building those relationships through listening and being present with indigenous persons; working beside indigenous persons to seek solutions to current problems; advocating and resourcing programs which are self-determined by the native and indigenous persons to be part of the healing process; and holding an Act of Repentance Service for the Healing of Relationships with Indigenous Persons in each conference”

We believe that not only the Church but that it is imperative, and let me repeat, that it is imperative, for member states to understand the impact of this Doctrine on indigenous peoples and that the recommendation in the Conference Room Paper of convening of an Expert Group Meeting will be a step in that direction. and that an International Study on the effects of the Doctrine of Discovery upon the Health, physical, psychological, social wellbeing, human, and collective rights of lands, resources, medicines, and titles to such lands submitted to the UNPFII in 2014 would further our understanding of what actions to take.

The United Methodist Church is deeply grateful for the indigenous peoples who brought this framework and actions forward through the Permanent Forum and the research that has resulted from this action which is gaining momentum in the Methodist Church.

My brothers and Sisters, Though I be speaking on behalf on the church, I am also a victim of this violent crime against humanity, called the Doctrine of Discovery. Grasp each other, hold tight to each other. Because it is only by moving forward together, will we make change happen. I would like to end , by reminding not only the church, but the Member States that this is only one step in a Mile long Journey. May blessings be always on you and all your peoples.

Thank You, And in honor of my Muscogee People, MVTO, my brothers and sisters.

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