Speakfaithfully’s Birthday Fundraiser: Raising support for Pe’Sla!

All I want for my birthday is a little bit of justice…

[TLDR Version: 

To support this: http://www.indiegogo.com/PeSla-LakotaHeartland

I created this: http://www.facebook.com/events/418179661562608/

And am asking people to donate to this fund on my behalf instead of sending me presents or cards.

If you help me raise $500, I will contribute $500 of my own money to the Pe’ Sla fund and not cut my hair for two years.  If you contribute a total of $1000 I will do both of those things and learn my own native language, Tagalog, within a year.

Please consider participating by donating, sharing or spreading the word as the auction is THISFriday.]

Hey everybody, my birthday is less than a week away! I turn 28 on August 26th! I plan to have a party at some time in the near future in Pasadena but I want to do something a little non-traditional regarding presents and gifts.

Some of you may know that I am committed to serving Native American communities long-term. I hope to integrate my training as a pastor, my gifts as a writer and leader, and my (Lord willing) future training as a psychologist to this end.

This might seem like an odd goal as a person of Dutch and Filipino heritage, but it is where I fit and where Jesus has led me. After spending a brief amount of time on the Ft. Babine First Native Reservation in Canada with the Carrier Band, I fell in love with Native culture and have always felt called to work with indigenous people.

As I have continued my studies and studied history it has become clear to me that Native American/First Nations communities are some of the most under-served, over-looked and oppressed communities in the United States and Canada. While I do not think I can solve the issues facing these communities by myself, nor am I naive to the fact that outsiders with good hearts have often been less than helpful, I simply cannot believe in the God of Israel, a God that demands justice for the poor and downtrodden, a God that calls us to love others, a God that has created all people in the image of God, and not take the path I am on.

Some of you may also know (especially if you have been reading my recent Tweets and Facebook updates) that I am getting very serious and practical with my concerns regarding the history and legacy of colonialism and related injustices that has plagued the Americas, Africa and Asia. I am especially concerned with the fact that while Christians have at times been a voice for peace and progress, Christians have also participated in many of the injustices that have been perpetrated in history and continue to this day. We at times have sanctioned colonialism with our theology and have been direct participants in colonialism and attempts at forced cultural assimilation. We cannot undo this past, but we should seek to admit it and reckon with it as best we can.

One small way, almost a token really, that I would like to contribute to these issues now even before I finish my educational plans, is to help raise support for the buying of Pe’ Sla.

The short story is that Pe’ Sla is land in South Dakota that is sacred to the Lakota people. The religious ceremonies performed by the Lakota are tied to the land and they simply cannot do these ceremonies elsewhere. The land is going up for auction in five days. The family that owes Pe’ Sla has been amiable to the Lakota, and have allowed them access to this land, but once it is sold it may be divided up into less than amiable people. Perhaps worst of all the state of South Dakota has plans to build a highway right through it. I’m fairly certain no one would tolerate a highway through the sites sacred to Christianity, or Islam, or Hinduism, or Judaism, so why are we comfortable with the same thing happening to others?

The Lakota, in a twist of fate that exposes the irrationality of colonialism, are raising money to buy back the land that was taken from them in an effort to maintain their land.

This initiative is being undertaken by the Lakota and they are appealing to help from anyone and everyone that can. While most Lakota live below the poverty line, one tribe has already committed $50,000 to this fund, whose goal is 1 million dollars.

More information can be found here:

My goal is to help raise $500 dollars for the Pe’ Sla fund. So…

In lieu of gifts or cards for my birthday I would appreciate it if instead you donated to the Pe’ Sla fund on my behalf.

If I reach the $500 goal in the next several days before the auction I will do two things.

First, I will commit to matching this $500 with $500 of my own money.

Second, I will (possibly starting at a later date) not cut my hair for at least two years and grow out the majestic Filipino hair once again. (Seen here: http://tinyurl.com/95npzcd)

If by some odd fluke of chance (or the generous donations of my gigantic Filipino family *nudge nudge*) we raise $1,000 I will commit to learning Tagalog within one year, in honor and respect to my own ethnic heritage.

You don’t have to prove you donated (we’ll be on the honor system here friends) just report what you donated on the Facebook event page. I’ll keep a running tally there and let everyone know.

I invited over 1,000 Facebook people to this event. if you all gave $1 we would raise $1,500, I would have to grow my hair out again, and I would have to learn a language in a year and you would contribute to cultural revitalization and preservation. That’s a lot for $1!

This is a very time sensitive project as the auction is only five days from now! Please contribute in whatever way you can, either by donating as much as you see fit, inviting others to this page, sharing this event on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, or sharing about this issue in general for the next several days.

Thanks for your time!


About Speakfaithfully

I am figuring out life and faith and taking other people along with me on my journey. Sometimes as fellow travelers, sometimes as hostages.
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