DOCTRINE OF DISCOVERY, INDIGENOUS RIGHTS CHALLENGES, CLIMATE CHANGE: Synods that include California held their professional leadership conferences in October, and LOPP-CA director Mark Carlson participated in Theoasis in Palm Desert, which brought together the Pacifica and Southwest California synods and the Sierra Pacific Synod’s gathering in Olympic Park (still predominately known as “Squaw Valley,” an infamous, negative name in the experience of American Indians). Prairie Rose Seminole, ELCA director for American Indian and Alaskan Native Ministries, discussed her work, with a focus on the Doctrine of Discovery.
Before meeting in Olympic Park, Carlson and Jane Affonso, an LOPP-CA Policy Council member, Southwest California Synod Council member and synod Green Faith Team co-chair, invited Seminole to join them in Sacramento for a Methodist-sponsored lecture by White House correspondent April Ryan and the annual Acorn Day at the State Indian Museum. They then made a pilgrimage to Shasta Dam, the McCloud River and the lower slopes of Mount Shasta, near sites sacred to the Winnemem Wintu Tribe threatened by the renewed push to raise Shasta Dam to quench thirsty farms and cities in Central and Southern California – the Doctrine of Discovery in current application, driven in part by climate change. The photo of Seminole at the dam is similar to one of Winnemem Wintu Chief Caleen Sisk that appears in a 33-minute segment of the documentary Standing on Sacred Ground