UTQIAGVIK, ALASKA (OGA) The mayor of the North Slope Borough in Utqiagvik (Barrow), Alaska, has issued a proclamation acknowledging a recent apology from Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) officials for harms done to Alaska natives during the Indian assimilation movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.”
“It is our hope that this apology begins a healing process,” states Mayor Harry Brower Jr. in the proclamation dated February 10, 2017, “in which we all reflect on the consequences of our actions and follow the church’s example of accepting responsibility.”
The Reverend J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, and the Reverend Gradye Parsons, former Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, traveled to the northernmost city in the United States—Utqiagvik (Barrow), Alaska—to apologize to Native Americans, Alaska natives, and native Hawaiians.
The apology came as the result of action by the 222nd General Assembly (2016), which directed “that the PC(USA) and its members apologize to United States citizens of Native American ancestry, both those within and beyond our denomination. We offer this apology especially to those who were and are part of ‘stolen generations’ during the Indian-assimilation movement, namely former students of Indian boarding schools, their families, and their communities” (Minutes, 2016, Part I, p. 711 of the electronic file).
The apology was made during a February 8 celebration leading up to Kivgiq (Messenger Feast), a renewal and healing event.
Brower issued the proclamation “with the hope that every man and woman of the North Slope can find it in their hearts to accept [the apology].”
by Jerry Van Marter