Daryl Junes-Joe is a member of the Navajo Nation from Shiprock, New Mexico. Junes-Joe spent years working as a Navajo Nation tribal prosecutor and as an advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Junes-Joe pictured a quiet retirement but God had other plans. Junes-Joe is a United Methodist Women National Board director; she testified on behalf of indigenous people at an EPA hearing in Washington, DC; and she is on the board of the United Methodist General Commission on the Status and Role of Women.
"I'm Daryl Junes-Joe, and I'm from the Navajo Reservation. [Speaking Navajo language.] That's who I am as a woman. I've always worked on the Navajo Reservation. And I've never been outside. The United Methodist Women organization has helped me strengthen my spirituality. I've been given an opportunity to see what's outside the Reservation, to travel and meet other people.
Traveling to Norway, for instance, I was able to meet with a Sami tribe. They look just like me. They're native. They're indigenous people. They're suffering the same way my people have suffered also.
Appearing on panels with the United Nations, I'm able to meet with sisters from Africa, from Philippines, and to hear their stories also. I cry with them. I pray for them. And I just tell them what we also go through. Through this sharing there's a little bit of healing.
The Native American lands are being taken away. We have sacred monuments where medicine people go up to the mountains to gather herbs for their ceremonies. When these oil companies come in and take the resources they destroy the environment. The lands are destroyed. It's marked with oil stains. Many of our animals are no longer in the area.
As United Methodist Women, we support all of the people who are standing up against these corporations. We have written letters to Chevron. We have written letters to Ford companies. Marching with the Standing Rock, the Bear's Ears Monument, we want to protect those lands and those monuments.
God has certainly set me on a journey and kept opening doors for me. And when I retired five years ago I thought, 'This is it.' But no, God opened another door. I've become a voice…a voice for our communities that are unseen, that are unheard. And we're out there speaking for them. I'm just happy to be of some service even though I'm one person, but I'm really happy to be helping in this ministry."
Learn more about Native Peoples and the UMC.
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