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Reflections in the Silver Cup

INTEGRATING NATIVE PERSPECTIVES WITH CHRISTIANTY: AN INTERVIEW WITH DARLENE SILVERSMITH

Meeting Darlene Silversmith was a surprise. It happened while I was serializing To Drink from the Silver Cup on my blog. She must have found the blog through a Facebook post and commented something like this: “Wow! Christian Reformed [CRC and the church I grew up in] and in the Navajo Nation. Have to read this.” After she’d read a few chapters, she shared some of her own story about being in the CRC. Darlene is Diné, and her family roots are in Crownpoint, New Mexico, although she was born in Oakland, California, her birth there being one more example of the colonization of indigenous people. It was US policy, especially in the 1950s and 60s, to try to integrate Diné into the society at large through a program known as relocation, in which Native people were sent to urban areas to vocational training programs, where it was hoped they would settle.

Darlene’s Facebook posts intrigued me, as she was clearly very involved in the CRC. At the time she was going through its Leadership Development Program and seeking what is known in the CRC as a license to exhort, which means basically a license to preach without being ordained. At the same time, she was clearly aware of and raising consciousness about the need to decolonize Christianity. I asked if I could interview her at some point when I would be in the area. Her reply was a single word: “Sure.”

As my book tour evolved, it turned out that I would drive through Crownpoint en route to an event in Cuba, NM. We agreed to meet at Read More 
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TO DRINK FROM THE SILVER CUP

COMPARING COUSINS' SPIRITUAL JOURNEYS:
Interview with Danish Scholar and Activist
Charlotte Biil



Nearly two years ago, I spent eight weeks in my country of choice, Denmark. Early in my stay, my friend Tina invited me to join her annual pre-birthday celebration with a group of women on the tiny island of Bjørnø, which lies off the larger island of Fyn. I planned to take a combination of train and bus to meet up with Tina in Vester Skerninge, where she lives. Tina, however, said she thought there would be someone driving from Copenhagen and that I could catch a ride. Sure enough, Charlotte Biil and I started making arrangements to meet. “I’m driving a blue Ford Mondeo,” she texted. I had to look up the Mondeo, because it’s a car that Ford marketed in Europe, a compact station wagon. We met in the parking lot of Copenhagen’s Central Station, and thus began a three-hour trip during which we never stopped talking for long.

There were the usual getting-acquainted questions, first establishing whether we’d speak Danish or English. I always leave that up to the other person, and though later whenever we were in a group, we’d speak Danish, Charlotte chose English. I learned that she was completing her PhD in Public Administration and had held some highly responsible positions in both government and non-profits. In fact, her area of expertise lay in the intersectionality of the two entities. She learned that I had written To Drink from the Silver Cup and was publishing it in serial form as a blog on my website at the time.

Charlotte wanted to know what the book was about, and my answer brought me a surprise from her. I told her about Read More 
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