A Foster Mom Speaks Out about ICWA

In episode #7, we discussed the Indian Child Welfare Acts or ICWA, which is a major piece of civil rights legislation for Native Americans that has come under threat in the courts. This important law, passed in 1978, strengthened the legal rights of Indigenous families and specified that when Native children are removed from the care of their families, they will be placed in the care of extended family members, families in their own tribe, or Indigenous families from another tribe. On Nov. 9, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case that challenges the constitutionality of ICWA. In this episode, we will hear about the importance of ICWA by talking to a mother from the dominant culture who fostered a Native child.

For more information:

  • The National Indian Child Welfare Association website
  • Chapter one of Sarah Augustine’s  book, The Land is Not Empty: Following Jesus in Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery.
  • Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Coalition website.

Ask an Indian – Part 2

In round two of this episode, Sarah answers more listener questions, including: 

  • I was in a meeting where someone used the phrase “off the rez,” and I noticed that you (Sarah) as the only Native person in the meeting were actually less offended by this phrase than other folks were. Can you say more about your response?
  • How do white people know which “side” to take when Indigenous communities are divided around an issue?  For example, some tribes, or people within them, are supportive of a tribe seeking federal recognition and some are not. Or some are supportive of a development project, but others are not. 
  • When Indigenous peoples want land return, does that mean they want to kick me out of my house? Do they want me to leave the country or something?  

We want your questions, especially those you might feel too embarrassed to ask “out loud.” Please submit any questions to Sheri at fmcsf@aol.com. You can even do so anonymously, if you wish. And, for more information on donating land to local Native tribes or proceeds from a land sale to Indigenous justice organizations, please contact John Stoesz at johnstoesz1@gmail.com and check out this video for his story of land return.


Ask an Indian – Part 1

In this recurring episode, Sarah answers questions from listeners. Questions include:

  • What is the deal about dressing up like and Indian? Why is that offensive? 
  • What do Native people think about Columbus Day, Thanksgiving Day, etc.?
  • Many white settlers look to Indigenous People for ideas about how to connect with the land and live more sustainably. But Indigenous people have been so assimilated – what wisdom do they actually have to offer the larger culture? 

We want your questions, especially those you might feel too embarrassed to ask “out loud.” Please submit any questions to Sheri at fmcsf@aol.com. You can even do so anonymously, if you wish.


In this episode, Sarah and Sheri talk about Sarah’s “100-year vision” for the Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Coalition. Sarah will begin as the full-time Executive Director of the Coalition on July 1.

To contribute to Sarah’s salary campaign, please go here. Every dollar you donate will be matched by Sheri’s congregation, First Mennonite Church of San Francisco, through Indigenous Peoples Day of this year (October 10).

Conservation and Decolonization

It’s almost summer and many of us will be traveling to the U.S.’s national parks for vacation and recreation. In this episode, Sarah and Sheri talk about how the formation of our national parks, the conservation movement that inspired their formation, and colonization have gone hand in hand. They also talk about how conservation could be decolonized.


For more information:
Link to The Atlantic article, “Return the National Parks to the Tribes” by David Treuer
* https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2021/05/return-the-national-parks-to-the-tribes/618395/
Statistics from Cultural Survival can be found here.
* https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/conservation-policy-and-indigenous-peoples

Redistricting and the Doctrine of Discovery

In this episode, Sarah and Sheri talk about Sarah’s experience of serving as chair of the Washington State Redistricting Commission and the impact of that redistricting process on Native people.

Beyond Electric Cars and Renewable Energy

In this episode, Sarah and Sheri talk about  why renewable energy and electric cars and green growth won’t save us – and how these things are linked to the same extractive, dominating worldview of the Doctrine of Discovery.

For more information:

  • Link to Jason Hickel’s book Less is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World
  • Link to Jason Hickel’s article, “Degrowth is About Global Justice”
  • See chapters 7 and 8 of Sarah’s book, This Land Is Not Empty: Following Jesus in Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery for more information on extraction and the impact it has on Indigenous communities. – 
  • See this article about exponential growth and how our ignorance of it causes problems from how we deal with COVID to the climate crisis
  • This video talks about the difficulty of electrifying all sources of transportation, such as rail, shipping and air. 
  • This article talks about the growing scarcity of sand, which is the world’s most consumed raw material after water.
  • See this article for information about the San Carlos Apache’s fight to save Oak Flat from copper mining.
  • This article talks about the “decoupling delusion” – that is, decoupling GDP growth from resource and energy use.

Unsettling Truths: An Interview with Mark Charles

In this episode, Sarah and Sheri talk with activist, author and Dine leader Mark Charles, who wrote Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery with co-author Soong-Chan Rah.  For two years, Mark led an Indigenous and settler church in Denver before moving to live on the Navajo reservation with his family for 11 years. While on the reservation, Mark became exposed to, began studying and eventually started teaching about the Doctrine of Discovery. But Creator also placed on his heart a desire for truth and conciliation. Six years ago, Mark and his family moved from the Navajo Nation to Washington, D.C., and in 2020 he ran as an independent candidate for President of the United States.

For more information:

  • Wirelesshogan.com: Mark’s website, with links to his book, videos, podcasts, other writings and Patreon page
  • Link to Mark’s Youtube channel, “A Second Cup of Coffee”

Indigenous Cosmologies and Anabaptist Faith

In this episode Sarah and Sheri talk about how Indigenous cosmologies have helped form Sarah’s Christian faith and how we both have adopted a creation-centered approach to being an Anabaptist Christian.


Stories of Repair: An Interview with Katerina Friesen

Sarah and Sheri talk with Katerina Friesen. Katerina was the lead editor for an educational resource called “Stories of Repair” that provides case studies on how individuals and communities have engaged in restorative justice in response to the Doctrine of Discovery DofD). For anyone who has ever asked “But what do I do?” when hearing about the structural oppression caused by the DoD, this podcast – and the “Stories of Repair” booklet are for you.

For more information:
To learn more about “Stories of Repair” and get a copy, go to https://dofdmenno.org/stories-of-repair/.
To learn more about our work, please read Sarah’s book, The Land is Not Empty: Following Jesus in Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery, published by Herald Press in 2021.