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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Sacred heritage

My mother, Florinda Lynch Davis Soto, lived a life of great beauty and hardship. She saw her beautiful reservation dissolved and taken before her eyes. She learned early about racism and cruelty from those who didn't understand the ways of tribal people.

At age 5 Mom was taken to a boarding school. There were new teachings and separation from family. In the Klamath society, it is important for grandparents to be a part of the educationalprocess. Removing children from their people drove a big wedge into the tribal family structure.

But there also were positive experiences. She learned to sing and play instruments, how make clothes, crochet, knit and embroider. She also heard stories of Jesus. Stories about God the Creator weren't new. The stories of Jesus were welcome and fit into familiar talk about the Creator.

When Mom left school and returned home she became of part of the Methodist worshiping community. These were days of upheaval on the reservation. But for us, two things remained constant, Mom's love of her land and devotion to God.

When I reached the age for first grade, Mom moved into town, believing that was the only way I could find a good education. She read Bible stories to us, grounding us in the gospel, and found a church that was welcoming.

I thank God for for my mom. She never let us forget our heritage and was bold in her testimony of God's love. Without her strength and courage, I would not be where I am today.


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