Indigenous and religiously evangelical equal colonized?

Chantilly Mers
New York, NY

I am the daughter of parents who migrated from Palau, a small cluster of islands between Guam and the Philippines. Ethnically, I am Palauan and Chinese, and my siblings and I grew up in Hawaii. Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian is usually the box I check. In addition to my inherent multi-cultural identity, where in Hawaii we are taught to learn multiple body and language codes, it’s sometimes at church that I find the most trouble reconciling my multiple identities. I converted to Christianity in high-school, in an all white church that taught me God redeems culture and people groups. As I get older, I realize that white evangelicalism doesn’t redeem culture; in fact it colonizes cultures and identities to fit the white-American evangelical mold. How do I reconnect with my indigenous religion and culture, when my professed faith is dominantly euro-centric? Is there a middle space bridging these identities? Am I another colonized body?


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