Sounding Board: Letters to the editor and commentary
It's humbling and exciting when things start happening. Opportunities present themselves or helpers come along and believe in one of our visions. Deb Abrahamson of the SHAWL Society recently provided a tour for a researcher from Japan who is visiting the region to study the impacts of nuclear weapons production to our community. The Japanese were hit by nuclear bombs, the material used to build those bombs came from the Spokane Reservation. We have ties that nobody likes to talk about. We share illnesses. We've lost elders too early.
Then an email came in, from a group of doctors who offer to help with the needs we've outlined related to radiation exposure and cancer.
Deb seeks to bring cancer resources to our community and hold Indian Health Services accountable to our people. Now they need to help or get out of the way—no more chances as our people continue to be misdiagnosed and refused care. We are starting to reach out to the Puyallup Tribe's Salish Cancer Center, where Deb received the best treatment. They offer overall holistic healing. We had an educational session on diet and the benefits of spiritual healing.
The Spokane People deserve better care. Newmont and Western Nuclear, international mining giants, permitted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, came, stripped the resources and poisoned the land. They sold the uranium, and bombs were made. Now we call them to clean up their mess. Our future is at stake.
Twa-le Abrahamson Swan, The SHAWL Society
I am consistently impressed with your coverage of local and regional peace and social justice events, as well as information on social service and community agencies.
No one in the area does it better than all of you!
Susie Leonard Weller - Spokane
Blessings: Thank you for your most wonderful ministry. I am blessed by you. God Bless You!
Ray Rosch - Lewiston
The stories of the Vigil for the Healing of the Earth on Oct. 6 at the Old Mission at Cataldo, and about Cass Davis and Deb Abrahamson are so appreciated.
Cass, who shared his story of chronic lead poisoned health, represented the Silver Valley Community Resource Center, a 30-year old nonprofit organization whose grassroots efforts were first to inform the faith and justice leaders regarding the failure of government agencies to inform citizens of lead exposures and contamination at the Bunker Hill Superfund site.
A short distance from where the vigil was held, one of the largest toxic waste dumps in the Upper Basin of the Superfund Site stands. It is the Old Mission toxic repository, which is in violation of laws pertaining to permanent waste technology. The 20-acre site is the focus of ongoing downstream lead and mine waste pollution. More than 3,000 affected citizens and environmental justice groups throughout the U.S. oppose that toxic waste dump.
Childhood lead poisoning is a preventable illness. It is a result of living in the nation's largest lead site. The Silver Valley Community Resource Center has a "blueprint" and community support for a Community Lead Health Clinic/Center to address it. Along with Judge Edward Lodge holding the Hecla mining company liable for damages in a 2003 lawsuit, he awarded $264,000,000 to the Coeur d'Alene tribe, the State of Idaho and Shoshone County Commissioners. No money, however, was awarded for people who, like Cass, have been harmed through no fault of their own.
The SVCRC Children Run Better Unleaded Project promotes health intervention, testing for lead, educating people and advocating for laws to protect lead-poisoned children.
For information, call 208-784-8891, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit silvervalleyaction.org.
Barbara Miller, Silver Valley Resource Center
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Conference of Bishops this fall looked different than it did one year ago. More women. More people of color. Younger bishops. It's causing some discomfort. It's forcing us to examine realities that we've never had to confront—or even be aware of—before.
It is still good. It is still holy. It is still hard. It is still such a joy to be together, knowing that we do this work together, knowing that we will make mistakes, but that we will learn from them and from one another.
I gave up a lot when I became bishop. I gave up time with my family. I gave up a congregation I loved. I gave up anonymity. In some ways, I gave up some of my autonomy.
I got a lot in return. Chief among those is a sisterhood of women, who work alongside our brother bishops to effect lasting and important change in our denomination. It is hard, slow work. There are a LOT of critics, but it's hard to find people more dedicated to the future of the congregations under our care.
As bishops, we know change is coming, but as female bishops, I think we perceive it more as labor and birth, rather than death. It will be hard. There will be cries, pain, tearing and tears, but at the end, a day full of grace! Something new and infinitely precious.
So these women will do what women have done for millennia when birthing something new. We will lean on one another. We will laugh and cry. We will hold hands. We will sing songs and pray prayers and tell stories about the women who have traveled this road ahead of us, and left signposts along the way. We will break bread together. We will invoke the name of the Holy One. Just as the women of God have always done.
Kristen Kuempel - Bishop
Northwest Intermountain Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, December, 2019