News & Events

Whose Freedom?


Dear Tanenbaum Community,

As the Fourth of July approaches, we’re reminded to take time to pause and reflect on what it means to live on this land and to celebrate freedom. We are asking ourselves hard questions, listening to indigenous perspectives, and reflecting on who we are as a nation and how we got here.

To understand where we are today, we must challenge accepted narratives and acknowledge the continued impacts and legacy this country’s founding has had on indigenous nations, cultures, and religions. Across the continent, indigenous communities continue to struggle with access to education, health care, employment, land, the right to speak freely, to worship openly, and to protest this lack of freedom.

We must remember that the rights so many of us enjoy, continue to come at the expense of indigenous peoples. We must honor indigenous communities, learn our honest histories, and acknowledge that freedom was not granted for everyone on this land in 1776. We’d like to offer some ways to stand in solidarity with, and show respect for, indigenous peoples this July Fourth. Together we will build a future in which the freedoms of some are not tied to the sufferings of others.


  • Sarah Eagle Heart Keynote Address: A keynote address from the Religious Diversity Leadership Summit. Sarah is an Emmy award-winning social justice storyteller, activist, media strategist, and producer focused on advocacy for Indigenous Peoples. She currently serves as Co-founder/Co-CEO of Return to the Heart Foundation and previously served as CEO of the national nonprofit Native Americans in Philanthropy.
  • Earth & the Divine Webinar Conversation: The conversation drew on the Lenape community’s work to increase local biodiversity, and the grassroots sustainability work of Bhumi Global with Hindu communities and international communities’ writ large. Watch to learn more about how religious communities at the local, regional, and global levels honor their traditions and their responsibility for the Earth.


  • Juneteenth and the Fourth of July: A Conversation about White Christian Nationalism: PRRI and BJC (Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty) invites you to join authors and scholars Robert P. Jones and Kristin Du Mez—each of whom grew up in the white conservative Christian world—for a discussion about the role white Christianity is playing in these battles, why they are erupting at this moment in our nation’s history, and what’s at stake for the future of religion and the country.
  • Declaration Revisited: Native Americans Podcast: Writer, activist, and past Independent presidential candidate Mark Charles lays out the anti-Native American sentiments within the Declaration of Independence, the doctrines and proclamations from before 1776 that justified ‘discovery,’ and the Supreme Court decisions that continue to cite them all.


  • An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States: In an Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Dunbar-Ortiz adroitly challenges the founding myth of the United States and shows how policy against the Indigenous peoples was colonialist and designed to seize the territories of the original inhabitants, displacing or eliminating them.
  • How American Indians Really Feel About Independence Day: An OP-ED from 2000 exploring the Indigenous Persons perspective on July Fourth. Twenty-One years later many of the messages expressed within still carry strong resonance.


  • Native Words, Native Warriors: On this celebration of American Freedom, learn about the Native Americans who have bravely served in the United States Military infusing their own warrior traditions with classic American heroism.
  • Honoring the American Flag through Art: Objects decorated with American flag designs were incorporated into Native art in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Watch Emil Her Many Horses (Oglala Lakota), museum curator and historian at the Smithsonian, as he takes us through objects in the museum’s collection that were created to honor the American flag.

In solidarity,

Rev. Mark Fowler,
CEO, Tanenbaum