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Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry: Conversations on Creation, Land Justice, and Life Together

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How can North Americans come to terms with the lamentable clash between indigenous and settler cultures, faiths, and attitudes toward creation? Showcasing a variety of voices—both traditional and Christian, native and non-native—Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry offers up alternative histories, radical theologies, and poetic, life-giving memories that can unsettle our souls and wo How can North Americans come to terms with the lamentable clash between indigenous and settler cultures, faiths, and attitudes toward creation? Showcasing a variety of voices—both traditional and Christian, native and non-native—Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry offers up alternative histories, radical theologies, and poetic, life-giving memories that can unsettle our souls and work toward reconciliation. This book is intended for all who are interested in healing historical wounds of racism, stolen land, and cultural exploitation. Essays on land use, creation, history, and faith appear among poems and reflections by people across ethnic and religious divides. The writers do not always agree—in fact, some are bound to raise readers&rsqup; defenses. But they represent the hard truths that we must hear before reconciliation can come. Many who read Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry are wondering, “How can I respond?” Paths for Peacemaking with Host Peoples is a short document intended to give people tangible ways to act and respond to some of the things learned in Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry. Click here to download. Free downloadable study guide available here.


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How can North Americans come to terms with the lamentable clash between indigenous and settler cultures, faiths, and attitudes toward creation? Showcasing a variety of voices—both traditional and Christian, native and non-native—Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry offers up alternative histories, radical theologies, and poetic, life-giving memories that can unsettle our souls and wo How can North Americans come to terms with the lamentable clash between indigenous and settler cultures, faiths, and attitudes toward creation? Showcasing a variety of voices—both traditional and Christian, native and non-native—Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry offers up alternative histories, radical theologies, and poetic, life-giving memories that can unsettle our souls and work toward reconciliation. This book is intended for all who are interested in healing historical wounds of racism, stolen land, and cultural exploitation. Essays on land use, creation, history, and faith appear among poems and reflections by people across ethnic and religious divides. The writers do not always agree—in fact, some are bound to raise readers&rsqup; defenses. But they represent the hard truths that we must hear before reconciliation can come. Many who read Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry are wondering, “How can I respond?” Paths for Peacemaking with Host Peoples is a short document intended to give people tangible ways to act and respond to some of the things learned in Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry. Click here to download. Free downloadable study guide available here.

30 review for Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry: Conversations on Creation, Land Justice, and Life Together

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Funk

    I'm glad I read this book, but it was not an easy read. Many of the chapters were rightly written by our indigenous people, but some of the writing was also very angry, which served to make me, a 'settler' feel guilty and bad, but did not give me many constructive ideas on how to make amends, to heal. Perhaps just increasing my awareness is already a step in the right direction. There were many different writers with various perspectives, and some I found much more encouraging and healing, resto I'm glad I read this book, but it was not an easy read. Many of the chapters were rightly written by our indigenous people, but some of the writing was also very angry, which served to make me, a 'settler' feel guilty and bad, but did not give me many constructive ideas on how to make amends, to heal. Perhaps just increasing my awareness is already a step in the right direction. There were many different writers with various perspectives, and some I found much more encouraging and healing, restoring, than others. This is a necessary book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sagely

    This is a book worth reading. I'm grateful a friend pressed me to pick up a copy. This collection of essays, poems, and a short-story grabs me by the shoulder and turns me so I can see a reality that I've blindly (willfully?) ignored for too long. That said, I'm not sure what next steps I should take. That's my strongest critique of the volume. For a text put together by a church press for use by local congregations, BSSC has a disappointing dearth of on-ramps for involvement and activism. Jennifer This is a book worth reading. I'm grateful a friend pressed me to pick up a copy. This collection of essays, poems, and a short-story grabs me by the shoulder and turns me so I can see a reality that I've blindly (willfully?) ignored for too long. That said, I'm not sure what next steps I should take. That's my strongest critique of the volume. For a text put together by a church press for use by local congregations, BSSC has a disappointing dearth of on-ramps for involvement and activism. Jennifer Harvey, in the closing core chapter called on the need for land reparations in the Christian dialogue about creation care, sums up my parting feelings about BSSC as a whole: "I do not pretend to offer any easy answers, here, about how settler Christian environmental movements should proceed. I am aware that my argument might generate moral paralysis and despair. This is not easy work. From our current vantage point, we cannot merely think our way out of imperialism. I have tried, however, to offer a compelling case for rethinking how to do the 'good' that we certainly must pursue." (327) BSSC as a whole presses such a case. But it leaves off at suggestions for new thinking (even while disclaiming the need to move beyond new thinking). How are we (local settler congregation like mine) to move and act from now on?

  3. 5 out of 5

    joshua

    I'm glad that I was assigned to read this text as part of the NAIITS program (Indigenous History & Mission in North America class) so I didn't wait any longer. Don't pass up this compilation of some of beautiful pieces of poetry that frame articles in a dialogue between people with native and settler backgrounds. There is a strong enough critique to the theological, ecological, and human fragmentation to be sure. Yet still there is much hope. These texts have an abundance of the voice calling us I'm glad that I was assigned to read this text as part of the NAIITS program (Indigenous History & Mission in North America class) so I didn't wait any longer. Don't pass up this compilation of some of beautiful pieces of poetry that frame articles in a dialogue between people with native and settler backgrounds. There is a strong enough critique to the theological, ecological, and human fragmentation to be sure. Yet still there is much hope. These texts have an abundance of the voice calling us all to listen with new ears to the land, to Creator, and to one another in this moment we're given. Don't miss the call to change - we're not headed for a disaster, we are living in one. Especially for those interested in: theology, Indigenous peoples' issues, race studies, feminist studies, decolonization, history, deep ecology, Anabaptism, land rights, Jesus, the Church, and reconciliation. In case you needed some name-dropping to pique your interest, my favorite contributions were by: Randy Woodley (Keetoowah), Ched Myers, Derrick Jensen, Terry Leblanc (Mi'kmaq), Waziyatawin (Dakota), Jim Perkinson, Steve Berry, Cheryl Bear (Nadleh Whut'en), Adrian Jacobs (Cayuga), and Gord Hill (Kwakwaka'wakw). http:naaits.org

  4. 4 out of 5

    M.J. Perry

    This book was recommended to a Theology on Tap group to which I belong. The group discusses books that help examine the intersection faith and life, sometimes in uncomfortable ways. There is always a theology/faith book and a companion piece. In this case the companion piece was "The Inconvenient Indian" by Tom King. (Reviewed elsewhere on this page.) "Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry" is an anthology compiled and edited by Stephen Heinrichs with the Mennonite Central Committee. Like many anthologies it This book was recommended to a Theology on Tap group to which I belong. The group discusses books that help examine the intersection faith and life, sometimes in uncomfortable ways. There is always a theology/faith book and a companion piece. In this case the companion piece was "The Inconvenient Indian" by Tom King. (Reviewed elsewhere on this page.) "Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry" is an anthology compiled and edited by Stephen Heinrichs with the Mennonite Central Committee. Like many anthologies it is a compilation of a variety of styles and approaches that can speak to a variety of different types of people. Some of the writings are better than others. One of the unique features of this anthology is its approach. Articles are written by indigenous authors are opened and responded to by settlers. Articles by settlers are opened and responded to by indigenous writers. It took much longer to read than I had thought it would, simply because it frequently had to be set asie, it's pull on one's sense of being is very strong and is sometimes too overpowering emotionally. I am part of the settler community and my heritage is European. Although one side of my family arrived fairly recently I can trace one branch of the other side back to Upper Canada in the late 1700s. I would read the history of the relationship between settlers and non-settlers and realize that my ancestors were participatory in the acts of genocide that are a part of my nation's history. Their participation may not have been complicit but the nature of legislation that existed meant they participated. It is realizations such as these that make this history difficult for many settlers to read. I am sure it is as difficult for indigenous people--although for very different reasons. "Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry" left our particular group with more questions than when we started. It has increased our awareness of the complexity of reconciliation--it's not just about money, etc."--and increased our commitment, although we all question our willingness to make the sacrifices necessary for true reconciliation. It is not necessary for all of the articles to be read to begin the road to understanding this indigenous settler relationship. However, I would recommend that a good selection of articles, including opening and responses, be read by all Canadians. I would love to see some of the articles placed on Canadian History high school courses and citizenship exams.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    Inspiring theology

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dnicebear

    BUFFALO SHOUT, SALMON CRY, Steve Heinrichs, editor, Herald Press, 2013 This has been a wonderful book to read during October, and the subjects have been deepened, as my church celebrated Indigenous Day in worship and as some of us went to a local gathering in solidarity with our relations at Standing Rock and as my husband prepares a class on white privilege relative to First Peoples. Essays and Poems are grouped in four parts, and I will review one contribution from each section. 1. Naming the Co BUFFALO SHOUT, SALMON CRY, Steve Heinrichs, editor, Herald Press, 2013 This has been a wonderful book to read during October, and the subjects have been deepened, as my church celebrated Indigenous Day in worship and as some of us went to a local gathering in solidarity with our relations at Standing Rock and as my husband prepares a class on white privilege relative to First Peoples. Essays and Poems are grouped in four parts, and I will review one contribution from each section. 1. Naming the Colonial Context “Liberated Peoples, Liberated Lands,” by Leanne Simpson (Michi Saagig Nishnaabeg). I cry when read what it’s like to be in Ms Simpson’s homeland of central Ontario, where everything is re-named, concrete buildings perch over “teaching rocks,” and homes and cottages cover up burial grounds. I feel viscerally the way land, “our Mother,” has been taken. And children. And ceremonies. Treaties have not been honored. I am thankful to be sensitized. I am drawn in to the class Ms Simpson taught with Nishnaabeg elder Robin Green, where Mr. Green felt that “sustainable development is thinking backwards. What makes sense from a Nishnaabeg perspective is that humans should be taking as little as possible and giving up as much as possible to promote sustainability and promote mino bimaadiziwin(“the good life”) in the coming generations.” Can I/we manage my(our)self(ves) so that life can promote more life? 2. Unsettling Theology “From Garden to Tower: Genesis 1-11 as a critique of civilization and an invitation to indigenous re-visioning,” by Ched Myers Treating the whole eleven chapters of Genesis as our origin story (rather than just the first two chapters) is really eye-opening. Exile begins quite early, and so does an epidemic of domination. The Creator’s countermeasures include “deconstruction of imperial monoculture (tower of Babel) in favor of the original vision of a dispersed, tribally diverse humanity,” and the ‘tattoo of taboo’ on Cain the “warn people of the land to watch out for aggressive farming cultures.” I re-read the eleven chapters and experience something new. Meyers recommends exploring how a ‘Native hermeneutic’ might help us re-read our sacred texts and re-centering our theology and practices in real landscapes, for which we take keen responsibility. Yes. Yes. YES. 3. Voices of Challenge and Protest “A Serpent in the Garden: an unholy worldview on sacred land,” by Waziyatawin (Dakota) Waziyatawin introduces us to a people so peaceful and so unaccustomed to iron weapons of war (living in modern-day Haiti/Dominican Republic) that they accidentally cut their hands on swords shown to them. Then we experience some of the details of the displacement and eradication of First People done often by folks who believe they are doing God’s work. In Waziyatawin’s homeland of Minisota Makoce (Land where the waters reflect the skies), in the span of 200 years, gone are 99 percent of the prairies, 90 percent of the wetlands, 98 percent of the white pines, and 98 percent of the Big Woods of southern Minnesota. Instead, land, water and air are polluted at life-threatening levels. And the people were treated in ways “to kill the Indian and save the man.” Is it unsettling to hear this?: “that it might be wise for Christians to forget Jesus and shelve their Bibles for a while so that they can reconnect to the earth, the primary revelation of the Creator.” 4. Where to From Here? “Just Creation: Enhancing life in a world of Relatives,” by Daniel R. Wildcat (Muscogee) A worldview needed to work through the complexities aroused in this book can be illustrated by this story from Seneca Chief Red Jacket, responding to missionaries who wanted to enter Haudenosunee lands to proselytize: “We never quarrel about religion.” Mr. Wildcat says this does not mean we stop examining our traditions and teachings and our place within Mother Earth. We bring to this diversity the openness illustrated by the indigenous elder, called to testify in an important land case. When asked to swear on the Bible to tell the truth, the elder responds: “I cannot tell ‘the truth.’ I can only tell you what I know.” I am thankful for this push towards “two-eyed seeing” (Indigenous and Western knowledges teaching together). I look forward to working and praying with this collection of writings in the weeks and months to come.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lora

    This book is truly remarkable! It brings together authors from very different backgrounds, from all over North America, puts them in dialogue with each other, and doesn't make them agree. It includes poetry, essay, story, comic, memoir, and unclassifiable literary genres. It is controversial, creative, and cohesive, in spite of its diversity. It deals with the twin issues of environmental justice and racial justice (specifically regarding indigenous populations in North America). This is a very This book is truly remarkable! It brings together authors from very different backgrounds, from all over North America, puts them in dialogue with each other, and doesn't make them agree. It includes poetry, essay, story, comic, memoir, and unclassifiable literary genres. It is controversial, creative, and cohesive, in spite of its diversity. It deals with the twin issues of environmental justice and racial justice (specifically regarding indigenous populations in North America). This is a very important book that I feel everyone in North America should read!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Justin Eisinga

    This was an incredibly unique read. The reflections before and after each chapter really added to the content of this book. Each chapter provided a challenging perspective. This book really made me think about my role as a white [settler] Canadian and the relationship my generation and the generations before me has with our First Nations brothers and sisters. A challenging mixture of theology, history, and narrative.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Blane

    While I have not finished the book from cover to cover I am realizing that it is perhaps a several year's read and I need to move on for now. I have and continue to learn a great deal from this book and its different perspective on history and how to view nature. I recommend it as a deep, life changing read. While I have not finished the book from cover to cover I am realizing that it is perhaps a several year's read and I need to move on for now. I have and continue to learn a great deal from this book and its different perspective on history and how to view nature. I recommend it as a deep, life changing read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Emily McFarlan Miller

    I hadn't made it through the end of the introduction before I started recommending this book to everybody I know. A thought-provoking collection of essays, poems and more by Christians and non-Christians, Native and non-Native, on what it looks like to live together on this land in light of the gospel. I hadn't made it through the end of the introduction before I started recommending this book to everybody I know. A thought-provoking collection of essays, poems and more by Christians and non-Christians, Native and non-Native, on what it looks like to live together on this land in light of the gospel.

  11. 5 out of 5

    David

    Hard to recommend this enough for a church serious about engaging settler/colonial issues.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    This is a critical book at this time especially for settlers and Christians to read. An excellent collection of poems, stories, and essays that help to start decolonizing my worldviews.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sam Dueckman

  14. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lucille

  16. 5 out of 5

    David

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mh

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Taylor

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michael Posthumus

  20. 4 out of 5

    Eric Jacomet

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anu George

  22. 5 out of 5

    Steve

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Watland

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Seiling

  25. 4 out of 5

    Christy

  26. 5 out of 5

    Clara

  27. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

  28. 4 out of 5

    Matt

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nathalie Klein

  30. 5 out of 5

    Krista

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