CONVERTING OUR BAPTISMAL COVENANT INTO ACTION
The Episcopal Church (TEC) recognizes and repents its harmful treatment of Native Americans. In 1997, TEC signed a new covenant of faith and reconciliation almost 400 years after Jamestown colonization, apologizing for its past actions and launching a decade of “remembrance, recognition, and reconciliation.” In 2009, the General Convention of TEC passed a resolution repudiating the 15th century-based Doctrine of Discovery, which held that “Christian sovereigns and their representative explorers could assert dominion and title over non-Christian lands with the full blessing and sanction of the Church.” In 2023, the 135th Annual Meeting of the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon affirmed the General Convention’s resolution and formally, by resolution, repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery and identified next steps as a diocese to work towards reparation, reconciliation, and healing.
The Episcopal Church in Western Oregon recognizes the impact that its history has had on Indigenous communities in Oregon. Beginning in the early 1850s, the Episcopal Church built churches on land in Portland taken from the Multnomah, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Chinook, Tualatin Kalapuya, Molalla, and many other Tribes who made their homes along the Columbia River.
The vital work of remembrance, recognition, and reconciliation in connection with our Indigenous siblings continues. We are pursuing this in our racial justice work, truth and reconciliation ministries, and relationships forged through repentance, forgiveness, and restoration with Indigenous people in our communities.
The Episcopal Church in Western Oregon occupies and works on the traditional, ancestral, unceded and ceded lands of many tribes throughout Western Oregon. Following multiple treaties between the federal government and Indigenous peoples, Indigenous communities were forcibly removed to reservations throughout Oregon. Today, living descendants of these people are part of the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians, Coquille Indian Tribe, Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon, and the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians. Indigenous people are valued, contributing members of the Episcopal community in Oregon and there are multiple sovereign tribes represented among our parishioners and staff.
The Episcopal Church in Western Oregon is comprised of faithful Christians who confess our historical participation in, and ongoing benefit from, the displacement of Indigenous peoples throughout Western Oregon. We accept our responsibility for understanding the continuing impact of that history on these communities. The Episcopal Church in Western Oregon is committed — in the spirit of our Baptismal Covenant, self-reflection, worship, reconciliation, and partnership — to ensure that this church will be of enduring benefit, not only to the state of Oregon, but also to the people on whose ancestral lands it is now located.
LEARN MORE ABOUT NATIVE AMERICAN/INDIGENOUS CULTURE
- More about land acknowledgments
- Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery
- Episcopal Church Office of Indigenous Ministries
- Oregon Department of Education Tribal Curriculum
- Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Organization
- The Absalom Jones Episcopal Center for Racial Healing Indigenous Peoples Resource List