September 19, 2018, Adrian, Mich. – The Adrian Dominican Sisters will celebrate Indigenous People’s Day on Monday, October 8, 2018, with a special 10:30 a.m. Mass incorporating some aspects of Native American spirituality, such as smudging and drumming. Sisters who have some Native American blood or who have at one time ministered with Native Americans will be recognized.
Sister Susan Gardner, OP, Director of the Native American Apostolate for the Diocese of Gaylord, Michigan, will offer a presentation at 1:30 p.m., “Effects of the Doctrine of Discovery Today and the Boarding School Era.” Sister Susan will also bring staff members of the parish where she ministers, St. Kateri Tekakwitha in Suttons Bay, Michigan.
The Mass and presentation are free and open to the public. If you plan to attend either, please contact Sister Kathleen Nolan, OP, at 517-266-3403 to help in the planning of the event.
In celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the Adrian Dominican Sisters will join 55 cities and five states that celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day rather than Columbus Day. Five cities in Michigan celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day: Alpena, Ann Arbor, East Lansing, Traverse City, and Ypsilanti.
Sister Kathleen, Director of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, said Indigenous Peoples’ Day honors those who were already in the Americas when Christopher Columbus first came to the Western Hemisphere. The Spanish Conquistadores who followed Columbus brought great suffering to the native peoples of the Americas, she noted.
In a September 18 presentation to Adrian Dominican Sisters at the Motherhouse Campus, Sister Kathleen further explained the rationale for celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day rather than Columbus Day.
Columbus Day began in 1869 as a celebration of the people of Italian-American heritage and ultimately, in 1972, became a public holiday celebrated on the second Monday of October. In 1992, however, the 500th anniversary of the date that Columbus arrived in the Western Hemisphere (most likely the Bahamas) people began to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead, Sister Kathleeen explained.
“What we celebrate as Americans reveals the character of our country,” she said. “It’s time to set the record straight. Long before 1492, millions of people were living in thriving societies with complex governments and cultures across the entire American continent.” Sister Kathleen showed a nine-minute video, “Seven Reasons Why Columbus Did Not Discover America,” outlining the civilizations living in the Americas and the other mariners who, centuries earlier, had landed in the Americas.
“Columbus Day represents the violent history of the colonization of the Western Hemisphere,” Sister Kathleen said. “Indigenous peoples have suffered tremendously from attempt after attempt and policy after policy to eradicate native cultures and way of life.” She added that it is “more fitting” to acknowledge and recognize the indigenous peoples “who were here first and persevered and continue to share so much of their knowledge, culture, and understanding of our relationship to Earth and land.”
Feature photo at top: Members of the Dishshii' Bikoh' Apache Group from Cibecue, Arizona demonstrate the Apache Crown Dance at Grand Canyon National Park in November of 2010 as part of Native American Heritage Month. (CC BY 2.0)
September 14, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – The Adrian Dominican Congregation is “on track” and making “significant progress” in its efforts to live out the 2016 General Chapter Enactment to “sacrifice to mitigate significantly our impact on climate change and ecological degradation.”
Joel Henricks, Director of Facilities and Grounds for the Adrian Dominican Sisters, and Sister Corinne Sanders, OP, Director of the Sustainability Office, gave an update on September 6 on campus sustainability efforts.
Among the areas of progress is a 21 percent reduction in the use of electricity in the past six years, Joel said. “We’re still using the same number of lights and air conditioning, but we’re trying to use energy smarter and in different ways.”
The Congregation has cut down on its use of electricity by installing energy-efficient Light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs throughout campus; installing energy-efficient windows; and replacing the old heating and cooling units with newer, energy-efficient and cost-saving models.
The Congregation has also joined Consumers Energy’s Green Generation program which, for a slightly higher rate per kilowatt hour, ensures that the power the Congregation uses from Consumers Energy is from 100 percent renewable sources. During the sustainability report, Phil Walsh, of Consumers Energy, presented Joel with a plaque recognizing the Congregation’s participation.
Joel also informed the audience that he and Sister Corinne are exploring other ways of equipping the campus with renewable energy, such as wind and solar. At this point, studies are being completed to “make sure we have the most accurate and up to date information we can as those decisions are starting to be explored,” Sister Corinne explained.
Another sustainability effort Sister Corinne talked about is campus storm water management. “We are capturing our rain in rain barrels,” she said, explaining that the rain captured during the early spring season was enough to water the Permaculture gardens for a good part of the summer, including five weeks of drought.
In addition, rain gardens direct rain water from impervious sources such as driveways and parking lots into a basin, where it can be slowly absorbed into the ground and, in the process, becomes purified of toxins, Sister Corinne said.
Another success story, Sister Corinne said, is the increase of composting, aided by thousands of healthy worms in the Congregation’s vermiculture area. Since October, she said, the Adrian Dominican Motherhouse Campus and Chartwells, the food service company at Siena Heights University, have reduced the amount of carbon dioxide sent to the landfill by 6,294 pounds. Sister Corinne noted that that is the equivalent of one ton of waste kept from the landfill and to planting 3.5 acres of forest per year.
Sister Corinne also had suggestions for individuals who hope to live more sustainably.
More about this year's Season of Creation events
Feature photo at top: Joel Henricks, left, Director of Facilities and Grounds for the Adrian Dominican Sisters, receives a plaque from Phil Walsh of Consumers Energy, recognizing the Congregation in the utility company’s Green Generation program.