“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind,to let the oppressed go free to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” – Luke 4:18-19
These words from the gospel of Luke herald the start of Jesus’ ministry, and indicate who he understands himself to be, what he understands his calling to be. To side with the oppressed, to amplify the voices of those whose voice is dampened by power structures and beliefs that harm.
This is the model through which Jesus lives his life, through which he revealed much about the character of God and a path which I, as a Christ follower am called to tread.
Therefore, I stand with Nathan Phillips, and feel led to declare so, after a fresh reading of this scripture passage.
I stand with him because the nation built on this, the stolen land of his ancestors has ignored him and his people for centuries,
because indigenous people are still here, and that’s what he was trying to show while he marched in D.C., and I honor that.
I stand with Nathan Phillips because he gets the short end of the stick here. The Indian Health Service is a branch of the federal government, and while they are shut down over fears of even more people who are different “invading ‘our’ country and taking our jobs,” he can’t access healthcare services and other services which are underfunded at best, to begin with.
Nathan Phillips is not an oppressor. He is an elder of the Omaha tribe, asking that his voice be heard, his story be listened to, his existence be acknowledged. He is asking not to be forgotten.
He carries the trauma of his people inside of him – a people who once cultivated this land, greatly, until it was colonized at their peril (read: genocide). Yet he is still here, his people are still here, and will not be silenced by a slogan promise to make great again that which was never ours to begin with; birthed from fear of the other.
I stand with the other, because I stand with Jesus.