Regarding “We hang on to it,” Dec. 3, Page 17:

I am glad you began to tackle the long and challenging history of the Native American experience and Catholicism. I encourage your paper to continue to write on this topic.

I did find it frustrating to hear some Native Catholics say their peers need to heal, move on and forgive. It is as if the onus is on Native people to work through the tragedies and traumas that befell them and that continue to be re-lived today.

Catholics have a chance to get this Native abuse scandal right, but so far I have seen little to make me think that this tragedy will be handled differently from others. The numbers of Native children who were abused or experienced cultural genocide far outweigh those from predominately white churches that were abused. The church responded, eventually, by paying massive settlements to these mostly white survivors. What is there for the brown survivors who experienced not only physical and sexual torment but cultural annihilation up until the 1990s and beyond?

Canada is much further along in its investigations. To date there have been more than 1,300 bodies discovered at Canadian schools. So many families reported missing children that we only can imagine what will be discovered.

Will our church do the right thing? Will our church apologize? Will our church give Native Catholics a reason to stay by sharing, honoring, and teaching traditions?

It is not the Natives who need to focus on forgiveness but Catholics who need to steadfastly seek repentance for our past and our continued complicity with the present and failing to change our course toward the good.

Sarah Falcon

Northeast Portland