Bridge Building Task Force

The Bridge Building Task Force was created in response to the Northeastern Minnesota Synod Resolution 17.1,, our synod’s commitment to partner with our Ojibwe neighbors as we repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery.

The Bridge Building Task Force leads, develops, promotes, and/or monitors ministries of the NEMN Synod by:

    • Leading in the acknowledgement and repentance of the Synod’s complicity in the evils of colonialism in the Americas
    • Leading the continuous and ongoing process of repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery
    • Offering a statement of repentance and reconciliation to Native Nations
    • Developing resources to help congregations and people understand and reduce the negative impact of the Doctrine of Discovery and its consequences for Native people in Northern Minnesota
    • Encouraging the development of a renewed strategy for ministry and partnership with Native communities
    • Working to ensure commitment to long-term stable funding of ELCA American Indian/Alaska Native ministries
    • Promoting efforts with Native communities
    • Increasing partnerships with and between congregations to accomplish the tasks listed above.

The Bridge Building Task Force provides learning opportunities through events like Blanket Exercises and workshops digitally or in person within congregations, youth groups, and the broader community.

What kinds of workshops do you lead?

The Bridge Building Task Force is available to assist you in creating space for healthy conversation and learning to occur, whether in person or digitally. We work with leaders and employees in a variety of settings, including congregational settings, schools, and government departments. We lead book studies, confirmation classes, cultural sensitivity training, and workshops. Workshops we’ve led in the past have explored a variety of topics, including:

  • The Doctrine of Discovery
  • Lutheran History with American Indian and Alaska Native Peoples
  • Native Theology
  • America’s Native American Boarding Schools
  • Contextual Lodge Ministry
  • Understanding Implicit Bias
  • Treaties and Treaty Rights
  • Effects of Intergenerational Trauma on Public Health
  • The Missing Chapter (an interactive digital workshop that utilizes digital media to explore pieces often left out of historical narrative)
What is the Blanket Exercise?

The Blanket Exercise is an interactive experience that raises awareness of the nation-to-nation relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in the United States. The experience is designed to increase knowledge about the laws, policies, and programs used during nation building that have impacted Indigenous people’s rights and self-governance by literally walking participants through our shared history with a different perspective. During their experience, participants are provided the opportunity to form a common memory and begin conversation about how we can build intercultural bridges together.

Check out this video produced by Native Americans in Philanthropy a partner with ELCA American Indian/Alaska Native Ministries.

Reach out to schedule a Blanket Exercise or workshop today. We’d love to work with you to design an experience that will meet your needs in your context.