Statement on Gaza and Palestine

Our hearts break as we watch what has been unfolding in Gaza over these past days (and for much longer than that). We join with countless people around the world who are calling for a ceasefire, and calling for the Israeli government to halt its assault on the Palestinian people. These diverse voices come from all spiritual traditions and corners of the globe, including Jewish Voice for Peace, The Red Nation, American Friends Service Committee, the Muslim Peace Fellowship, the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, the U.N. Secretary General, and 25 U.S. Senators — just to name a few.

As Indigenous people, we have experienced the theft of our lands and genocidal practices that the Palestinian people are being subjected to. As our sister Lyla June Johnston writes, 

“[The Israeli government has] put Palestine in a painful position: sit down and get beat up, don’t retaliate, if you do we will rain bombs on you and use your retaliation as an excuse to do so. As Native people we know that story. Any time we would retaliate they would call us savages. The event that really showed that the U.S. was doing the real savagery was Sand Creek Massacre. And even that they try to call a ‘battle’ when over 500 unarmed men, women, and children were mowed to the ground.”

We recognize the sorrowful complexity of the entanglement and lived narratives between Israel and Palestine. There is no peace with violence as a means to justify first strike or preemptive righteous use of deadly force. It is clear that much of the Israeli government’s response to threats, real or perceived, has come from an enabled culture of violence. It has destroyed lives and created means to cause the death of land-based peoples, the Palestinians.

We believe that the only way to stop this cycle of violence is to focus all our energies on healing the intergenerational trauma that has been part of the lives of both Arab and Jewish families living in that region. And the only way this can begin is by halting the current violence. We call on the United States government to use its influence and non-violence and peace building resources to leverage a ceasefire and to halt the Israeli government’s assault on the people of Gaza. The United States government must cease its military funding.

– Tewa Women United, May 19, 2021

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ABOUT TEWA WOMEN UNITED: Tewa Women United (TWU), founded in 1989, is a collective inter-tribal women’s voice in the Tewa homelands of Northern New Mexico. TWU’s mission is to provide a brave space for Indigenous women to uncover the power, strength, and skills they possess to become positive forces for social change in their families and communities. For more information, visit: