Thursday, July 14, 2005

Resignation

Well, for those of you who have been praying with little if any idea of what you have been praying for...I figured I would post the letter I wrote to my tribe's tribal council last Saturday. It might give you some deeper insight into what you were praying for. Thanks for all of your prayers and words of encouragement, and thanks for being my friends.

To the members of the Tribal Council:

One of my greatest passions in life has been my heritage as a Shawnee. I have a great love for my people, and our common tradition. This passion has only been exceeded by my passion for the Lord Jesus, as it should be. Over the last several years I have had many wonderful memories with our people, in every season of the year, and in many locations. I have great memories of visits to Chief Crow’s house, to the Lawson family church, and many other points in between. I am extremely grateful for the memories we have been able to make together—the modern history of the Shawnee people has been written in my heart by the shared experiences of our lives.

For this reason, it is with a heavy heart that I write this letter, but I feel that it is my only recourse. I do not write it out of malicious intent, but out of strong conviction, and deep regret. I write it because I feel I have failed the Shawnee people who I love. I write it because I feel I have been unable to adequately carry out the responsibilities of my position. I write because it seems the only option left for me is to resign my position as Niishwo-t-okeema (2nd Chief or Vice-Chairman of the Tribal Council).

I am sorry that it has come to this, and I truly wish there was another way, but my tear-filled eyes do not see it. I do not feel that I myself, the secretary/treasurer, or the tribal council have the authority to carry out our respective responsibilities. Also, as a matter of conviction, there are practices taking place among those who are considered spiritual authorities which I believe neither reflect the Bible or Shawnee tradition. Again, I do not write this out of bitterness or malice, but out of a heart that desires to seek earnestly after God.

Beyond this, over the last few years there have been questions of my loyalty and my commitment to our tribe. I have continued showing up year after year in spite of remarks made about my commitment, my loyalty, and my faith. If anything, maybe I have been loyal to a fault, and maybe my commitment has blinded me to the unraveling of our commitment to the Lord Jesus, to humble, forgiving hearts of repentance, and to the deep love all once felt for each other.

I love you all very dearly, and this has been the most painful decision I have ever made. I pray that you will find a better replacement and that our tribe will experience revival. I feel great shame that I have failed our people and great sorrow for what has become of our once loving and safe community.

I understand that my position in the tribe is for life, based on good behavior. I also understand that my commitment to Grandfather God stands before all other commitments. As such, I can not continue serving in my position with a clear conscience while we as a people drift farther and farther apart. I’m sorry I could not stop this from happening.

If anyone would like to contact me with any further concerns or questions I would gladly invite this dialogue and would be honored by your concern.

With great love and a broken heart,


Billy Thunderwarrior Williams
Vice-Chief

3 comments:

J.R. Woodward said...

Billy,

I mourn with you, and hope that your decision and letter makes a difference in your tribe. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us all. May God be with you in a special way through this difficult time.

Anonymous said...

That was very painful to re-live. I wish things would have worked out differently. I wish G-d would have been glorified.

chanchanchepon said...

I wish things would have worked out differently too, but I know that no matter what, G-d was glorified--it may not have been in the way hoped or anticipated, but G-d was definitely glorified.

Just the same, I know what you mean.