The Church of the Palms, 14808 N. Boswell Blvd., hosts its 19th annual Interfaith Conference Nov. 4 and 5. This year’s theme is coordinated with November’s National American Indian Heritage Month. Kaitlin Curtice, nationally known speaker, author and poet, will be the presenter on “Lessons in Decolonization.”
This conference is open to the public.
Curtice, a member of the Potawatomi Nation and a Christian, explores how her indigenous roots inform, challenge and intersect with her Christian faith. She has contributed to On Being, Religion News Service, USA Today and Sojourners, among others, and was interviewed for the New Yorker on colonization within Christian missions. In 2018, she was featured in a CBS documentary, “Race, Religion, and Resistance,” speaking on the dangers of colonized Christianity, and was also named one of Sojourners Magazine’s 10 Christian Women to Watch in 2018.
She is the author of “NATIVE: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God” (2020), “Glory Happening: Finding the Divine in Everyday Places” (2017), and a new book on everyday resistance coming out in 2023.
Born in an Indian hospital, raised in Oklahoma, and at one time devoted to her Southern Baptist church, Curtice is the child of a European ancestry and a father of the Potawatomi Nation.
For most of her early years, Curtice felt embraced and loved by her church as long as she showed only her white part and left her Native part hidden. But as often happens, as Curtice matured, she realized there were more parts to her than the white Christian part. In time she discovered there was a wife part, mother part, writer part, and yes, especially a Native part.
As she began exploring what it meant to be Native, she learned more of the Potawatomi language and culture but also becomes even more complicated. She learned of intergenerational trauma, the pain suffered by Indigenous people when the colonizers took Native land and attempted systematically to wipe out Indigenous culture and language. As she puts it, “O began the journey backward, which, for me, was the miraculous journey forward.”
Curtice’s candid and moving book, “Native,” tells of her transformational journey that is not complete. Her discovery of Indigenous spirituality and the connection to Mother Earth and Father Sky and all of creation is a story of deconstruction of faith, integration of her religious upbringing and stepping forward into the now and future as a Potawatomi woman with an evolving deep spiritual grounding.
Reservations are required for this event. Register at thepalms.org, managed by Eventbrite. Choices are: in-person (all sessions) is $50; virtual (all sessions) is $35. There are some Indigenous scholarships available (applications on church website).
Registration open 6:15 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, with a reception to follow. Saturday’s session is 9 a.m.-noon; registration opens at 8:15 a.m. (mid-morning snack included in fee).
Kay Klinkenborg, a member of Church of the Palms, is coordinator of the conference. Call 623-748-3574; leave a message and she will return the call.