Tapestry of Faith: Faith Like a River : A Program on Unitarian Universalist History for Adults
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Activity 2: The Ute and the Unitarians

Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Print out this story "The Ute and the Unitarians" and prepare to present it.
  • Write on newsprint the quote and questions, and post:

It is terribly arrogant to suppose that because we can see, with hindsight, mistakes of the generations before us, it's okay to demonize them. Without demonizing them, we need to be as clear as we can be about their gifts to us and their mistakes, because the consequences of both still shape us. - Alice Blair Wesley

  • How did you feel when you heard this story?
  • What do you see as the gifts in this story? The mistakes?
  • What is the enduring legacy of this story for Unitarian Universalists? What do we take away from this story, and what can we do with it?
  • Optional: Watch the video of the opening worship at General Assembly 2009, in which representatives of the Ute Tribe join with UUA presenters to tell the story of the Ute and the Unitarians. Select a portion of the video to show the group. Test the computer and projector.

Description of Activity

Read the story aloud.

Then, point out that the story is told from the point of view of Unitarian Universalists and not from the point of view of the Ute. If you have time, show the clip you have selected from the telling of this story at General Assembly 2009.

Post the prepared quote and questions. Read the quote aloud and lead the group to discuss the first two questions.

Then, introduce the third question with these or similar words:

There are different approaches to social action. All of them start with engagement with the stories of others. From there, we can educate ourselves about the history and challenges of those whose stories are not often told in the wider culture. We can share what we learn. We can stand as compassionate witnesses to the suffering, struggle, and liberation of others. We can engage in social or political advocacy. And we can undertake a variety of other actions that seek justice and equity. At any point in time, no matter how many years have passed, we can undertake some form of engagement and action.

Invite participants to discuss the final questions of how we have already, or could continue to, interact with this story.