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On this day in 1876, Chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull defeated U.S Army troops lead by Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer. Despite treaties promising that Native Americans would own their sacred Pahá Sápa (called the Black Hills) “as long as the rivers run and grass grows and the trees bear leaves,” once gold was discovered the army began a violent campaign to take the land back.
Have you ever had someone break an agreement with you?
More than 10,000 Native Americans gathered at Little Bighorn, disobeying the US War Department’s orders to return to their reservations. Despite being outnumbered and losing earlier battles, Custer pressed on to the camp without waiting for reinforcements.
Custer had only 600 men when he tried to take on 3,000 Lakota, Dakota and Cheyenne warriors. Custer and every soldier with him was killed in the battle. Also called Custer’s Last Stand by some, this battle fed into the stereotypes that Native Americans were wild, uncontrollable killers. As a result, the US government would increase their efforts to force the tribes onto reservations and seize the land promised to them without remuneration.
Have you ever felt the government was being unfair or breaking its own rules?
Jesus and the gospel writers believed that the Romans were hypocritical and named their writings “Good News.” More than a pithy title, the Good News was also the name of Ceasar’s newspaper. By using the title, Jesus and the gospel writers are implying that real good news comes from God.
If God came to earth to bring justice, what do you think God should do first?
Our history is full of stories of betrayal and racist actions. Today, spend some time “talking story” (as they say in Hawaii). Ask an older relative to tell you stories about what their life was like when they were younger, read about history through the eyes of a minority group or share your memories with a loved one.
Prayer of the Day: God of wind and rain, help us to remember the stories that have shaped our ancestors. Bless those who experience your sacredness in the rhythms of the earth and help us to make amends for the hypocrisies of our government. Amen.
Biblical Text of the Day: Deuteronomy 30:1-5
When all these things have happened to you, the blessings and the curses that I have set before you, if you call them to mind among all the nations where the God most high, your God has driven you, 2and return to the God most high, your God, and you and your children obey God with all your heart and with all your soul, just as I am commanding you today, 3then the God most high, your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you, gathering you again from all the peoples among whom the God most high, your God has scattered you.
4Even if you are exiled to the ends of the world, from there the God most high, your God will gather you, and from there God will bring you back. 5The God most high, your God will bring you into the land that your ancestors possessed, and you will possess it; God will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors.