Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 23

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 1 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE Smith: Yeah, there are just so many issues with ICWA. One, a lot of people just don’t follow it; two, a lot of people don’t know it. So, there have been infinite numbers of problems. Actually, in Maine, they developed a reconciliation commission over ICWA specifically, because Maine was just totally taking children out of their homes in complete defiance of ICWA, and so they’ve now developed a thing to redress the harms from that. But, again, the problem we have . . . and this is something in which I think Evangelicals could play a particular role, because it’s often Evangelicals that are trying to get rid of ICWA because they have this idea that Native parents don’t know how to take care of their kids. “Christian homes would do a better job, and we don’t want to get in the way of children getting into better Christian homes where they would be better taken care of.” So, I think this is something where Christians in particular have a very important role to play in educating about ICWA and in thinking outside of that savage/civilized paradigm that’s governing the way we look at these issues, and in thinking about different ways of supporting Native communities to raise their children, rather than just taking them. Again, back to that logic of disposability. “Your community is disposable; let’s rescue you because they can’t be supported.” So, I think that Christians in particular could be a very important and helpful voice in these debates as they continue. Man #3: You talked about the role of therapists earlier. I’m a new therapist, so I’m all ears. Thinking about how therapists work with individuals and couples and families—they do therapy groups—the mission statement of every therapy board, one of the mission statements is “Working for Social Justice.” So I guess I’m curious what words of wisdom you would have for therapists who wish to steer more toward a collective and away from an individualistic framework, to work for justice. Smith: I used to do counseling myself, so I think it’s vitally important work. But I think it can be done in a more collective way. The ways that I’ve seen it make a big difference are, one, when it’s done collectively. Support groups may not work for everybody, but I’ve noticed that you tend to see a lot more healing happen in a support group than you see individually, because people will heal from each other’s experience and not just that individual relationship. Two, how would the therapy look different if you saw somebody not just as a client who needed services but as a potential organizer on her own behalf, as one who could change the conditions that led to that situation. A part of the healing could be integrated with organizing itself, rather than the two being seen as different things. Man #3: Sure, I see that. I was having a similar reaction when our friend talked about his son who’s in the system and how big and heavy a weight the 22