Native American Land Statement


As we begin our time together, I encourage us to celebrate the incredibly diverse pathways and legacies of the people of the Michigan Conference. These beautiful peninsulas have sustained, inspired, and nurtured us; they have given us the resources to live, work, and play. We are grateful that time and place has put us here to live into God’s call for justice, welcome, and mercy. In our commitment to live into the Acts of Repentance to Native and Indigenous Peoples, I would like to take the time to honor the First Peoples of this area for caring for this abundant place. As early as 796 AD, the Council of the Three Fires has been coming together at Michilimackinac. The Anishinaabe member nations are the Ojibwe, the Keepers of Faith, the Odawa, the Keepers of Trade, and the Potawatomi, the Keepers of the Fire. These First Peoples have worked together to overcome colonization and sustain this land for our future. Harvesting these Great Lakes and their fertile lands would nourish expanding cultures. Immigrants would come to these shores, fleeing famine and poverty. This place would become the final passage of an Underground Railroad to freedom for the African slaves, and the cities would become the peace-filled homes to Vietnamese, Guatemalan, and Middle Eastern refugees of violence. Residents of our State advocatedall the way to theSupreme Court toprotect transgender people from employment discrimination and recognize same gender marriage. As the people of Michigan struggle to find equity together, this conference struggles to understand how its privilege has impacted its call from God. We continue to find ways to honor one another and serve God’s call in this place. Even when injustice stripped away the wealth of the soul and land of the Anishinaabe people, they persevered and never lost dignity. They never lost their respect for the Creator and all that was endowed to them. The slaves who found freedom in this place stood firm for their rights even when they were beaten and treated unjustly. The refugees who left the violence of war to seek peace and acceptance continue to strive to conquer barriers of hate. Members of Michgian’s LBGTQ+community who continue their struggle for recognition and rights. At this time, as we come together at the Michigan Annual Conference, we humbly ask for forgiveness. The United Methodist Church has too often been silent and complicit in these harms. To all of our siblings, on behalf of Michigan United Methodists, we apologize for the past atrocities that were inflicted upon you out of racism, injustice, and doctrinal abuse. We honor you and seek to honor this beautiful land you first called home. 

- Rev. David Eardley, Chair, Commission on the Annual Conference Session

2024 Michigan Annual Conference