Kaitlyn Curtice’s Native is a thoughtful reflection on what it means to be a person of mixed white and indigenous heritage in the United States, a Christian raised in American evangelicalism who is discovering her Potawatomi spirituality. The book is partly memoir, but mostly a collection of almost poetic short essays about faith and identity. Curtice writes about her own struggle to reclaim her identity as a Potawatomi woman, and to re-examine her Christian faith in the light not only of what she now knows about her indigenous heritage, but what she knows about how Christians have mistreated and abused indigenous people in the Americas. She’s honest about the fact that, as someone who was once a worship leader in evangelical churches, she now finds the title of “Christian” resting uneasily with the person she is becoming, even as she continues to love God as revealed in both her spiritual traditions.
There’s a lot here for white Christians like me to reflect on in how we make (or don’t make) space for indigenous people, Black people, and other people of colour in our communities, and how we try to “decolonize” our thinking, which is so deeply steeped in white supremacy we often don’t even realize it. This is a thoughtful and important book, and was beautifully read by the author on the audiobook version I listened to.